Thank you from the Chinooks

As the fourth season of Alaska Baseball League play wraps up for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks, we would like to send out thank you’s to all the people that made the wheels go around around.  This summer could not be possible without all the help between our sponsors, host families, booster club, and countless volunteers.

 

First of all, we would like to recognize our extensive list of sponsors that back this team throughout the Chugiak-Eagle River community.

The Alaska Club

Healtwise Care Center

The Master’s College

Jalepeño’s Mexican Restaurant

Alaska Digline

Mat-Valley Federal Credit Union

Bella Vista

Edward Jones Financial Investments – Gavin Rueb

Chinook Roofing

Chugiak Senior Center

Northwest Carpet Company

The Crossing

Fred Meyer

Matanuska Telephone Association

Holland America

Conoco Phillips

Home Optics

Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department

Laborer’s Local 341

Matanuska Electric Company

CBS Sports

Northern Chiropractic

Capstone Family Medicine

British Petroleum

Eagle River Lions Club

Statewide Independent Living Counsel of Alaska

The Beck Family

The Beck Family

The Chinooks would like to give appreciation to our Marketing Director Katherine Singer for all she does around the calendar year to secure these sponsorships and relationships with local businesses.

We also would like to recognize our extensive list of host families who pour so much into the players each and every year:  Jay and Amy Belmear, Greg and Judy Upton, Scott and Karen Deplessis, Brad and Cathy Jorgensen, Brent and Ellen Koenen, Tim and Sena Nunley, Anthony and Marci Perry, the John Simms family, Sharon Trischler and family, Stacy Walker and family, Betty-Jo Worthington, Kristy Sanderson and family, and Chirsty McNeil and family.

Special thank you’s go along to our Booster Club president Lee Jordan, public address announcer Dave Stroh, Chinook Shack manager Bill Wadell, merchandise tent volunteer Betty-Jo Worthington, and team photographer Al Clemens.  Their hard work behind the scenes does not go without the thanks of everyone who attends games at Loretta French Park.

Lastly we would like to appreciate the entire Beck family, general manager Chris and Danielle as well as their sons Ryan, Jackson, and Ty “BB” Beck who make this whole organization possible.

Chinooks win over Glacier Pilots, 3-2

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks’ bats came alive tonight at Mulcahy Sta- dium as they compiled eleven hits to top the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, 3-2. It was a celebration for some of the Fish who had not been hitting to their abilities as of late. There was also some very good defense behind the two pitchers. Conner Menez started and went for six strong innings only to leave with no de- cision. He was relieved by Shane Armstrong who came in with the score tied two-all in the bottom of the seventh and got the win. Armstrong’s strong arm kept the Pilots on the ground with three one-two-three innings. Those innings, however, were not without drama. But more on that later.

The Fish got on the scoreboard first with a lone run in the top of the second. With one out, catcher Tyler Boxwell singled, was moved to second on Dave Morton’s walk, moved to third on Jacob Brobst’s single and was driven home on a single by Will Bass.

The visitors scored again in the top of the third. Centerfielder Cadon Owens walked, swiped second and was brought home on a single by Boxwell.

In the sixth, Menez’ final inning, leadoff batter Luke Hamblin drew a walk, followed by another to Kevin Viers. With Pinchhitter Jonny Locher at bat and Hamlin on third, a desperation call by the third base coach sent Viers racing to second in what turned out to be a double steal. Boxwell’s throw to shortstop Hunter Hanks was a trifle high and both Hamblin and Viers scored. Locher was walked, but Boxwell threw a strike to second to catch him in an attempted thievery.

Menez gave up only one hit in his first four innings and two others in the fifth. The two runs in the sixth were charged to him. Those runs were to no avail, however, after Armstrong took over to keep the Pilots grounded while the Chinooks scored in the top of the ninth.

As suggested earlier, there was some drama before the final out was made and the victory sealed for the visiting team.

Armstrong struck out the first three batters he faced. He gave up a single with two out in the bottom of the eighth, but that runner also was caught steal- ing and the side retired. In the bottom of the ninth and the Pilots at home, Viers grounded out. Locher hit one deep to right center but it was hauled in. Leftfield- er Joe Wainhouse, the last hope for the home team, blasted a three-two offering deep to left. A strong contingency of Fish fans in attendance held its collective breath while the spheroid sailed high and deep, deep, deep. Morton, however, was at the wall, his glove outstretched, and snared it victoriously.

The Chinooks head for Kenai tomorrow morning to begin a three-game se- ries with the Peninsula Oilers. They return home to host the Pilots on July 7 and the Fairbanks Goldpanners the next evening. Contrary to what we stated in our last report, July 9 is not an off day as indicated in our schedule. We will get the correct information to you in the coming days.

Hear the games on www.cerchinooks.com, by clicking Nooks Nation.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks get day off after 5-1 loss

The same two teams that came oh so close last night were at Loretta French Sports Complex tonight, but there was no last inning excitement this time. The Mat-Su Miners’ bats were just as active and their pitching was superior. The visiting team scored two in the top of the second, another in the fourth, one in the sixth and another in the eighth.

Although the Chinooks loaded the bases twice, in both instances all three runners were left there without scoring.

For the home team, there was one hopeful moment. Second baseman Will Bass led off with a triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. His blow went to the fence and he left the plate with every intention of making it to third. He scored when number two batter Patrick Cromwell grounded out to second. A pop-up to third and a strikeout ended the inning and the Fish scoring.

Chinooks starter Grant Page pitched the first six innings, relieved by CJ Lewington in the top of the seventh. Ted Christie, who took the mound as fans sang “Happy Birthday” to the now 21-year-old. He walked on then sat down the visitors.

Miner right-hander James Harrington started and went until the bottom of the seventh. He threw three consecutive one-two-three innings, all on defensive plays behind him. It was the fourth frame before any Fish got aboard, and that on an error when the first baseman dropped a throw just as the runner got there. Harrington was charged with the lone Chugiak-Eagle River run after walking three and striking out but two. Trent Thompson relieved the starter and pitched three innings, tagged for five hits but not allowing anyone to score.

Strong play came from Miner shortstop Tyler Wolfe, with an outstanding play in the eighth robbing Michael Furuto of a hit. The Chinook designated hit- ter hit the ball sharply to the shortstop hole. Playing deep, Wolfe snapped up the ball, whirled 360 degrees and fired a strike to the first baseman for the out. Wolfe also started the only double play of the game, ending the bottom of the fifth and leaving two Fish stranded.

Tonight’s was the last of an eleven-game stretch for the Chinooks. Tomor- row they are off, allowing several of the players a chance to spend some time with visiting family. They travel to Mulcahy Stadium on Friday to play the An- chorage Glacier Pilots, then board the vans for a three-game series with the Na- tional Division leading Peninsula Oilers. From there they come back home for a pair of games at home, hosting the Pilots on Tuesday and the Fairbanks Goldpanners on Wednesday. They have another day off on Thursday before a home-away-home series with the Miners. The July schedule has six off days as compared to only two in June, a fact that bodes well for the Chinooks as they should be much better rested in the second month of the season.

Oh, so close as Miners eke out 5-4 win

“It ain’t over til it’s over,” Yogi Berra so famously said. Tonight’s game wasn’t over until the seventh pitch to Chinook designated hitter Holt Davis. When it was called a strike, he and fans sitting in the bleachers behind home plate were wishing that a borderline strike call a couple of pitches earlier had gone the other way.

With that in mind, let’s recap the game to that point.

After the first visiting batter, centerfielder Brick Paskiewiscz, was struck out by Chinook hurler Braxton Wilks, Miner rightfielder Chris Hall doubled. A throwing error on a grounder hit by leftfielder Vance Vizcaino brought Hall home and left the batter on second. The score stood at one until the top of the third when Hill singled and was brought home by designated hitter Matt Diorio.

The Chinooks came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth when centerfielder David Morton doubled, then Michael Staudinger singled. Both scored on another two-bagger by Tyler Boxwell.

The tie game held until the top of the seventh. Chinooks reliever Nathan Karkenny, who came in with two out and two on in the top of the fifth, got the third out on a fly to right on one pitch to end the inning. His luck soured in the next inning after the Miner catcher flew out to center only to see Paskiewiscz triple. Hill, the next hitter, flew out to right. Vizcaino followed him with another triple, scoring Paskiewiscz. Diorio then singled to bring in Vizcaino.

One more run by the Valley team came in the top of the ninth.
Now for the excitement that would have made Berra proud.
The home team came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with head coach Jordan Vierra sending in two pinch-hitters. They faced the Miner centerfielder who doubles as their closer. Cadon Owens drew a walk from the lanky right-hander whose dark locks hang almost to his shoulder. Mogg flew out to Vizcaino deep in left, the blow raising hopes of the faithful on the third-base side. Patrick Cromwell, the Nooks’ third-baseman, walked to put a second Fish on. Then came a strikeout, but Morton walked to keep the inning alive. With two out, Dave Furuto singled to load the bases. Hopes built to a fever pitch as Michael Staudinger, the Chinooks cleanup hitter, stepped to the plate. He had two strikes when Paskiewiscz threw one a bit too far inside, hitting Staudinger and forcing Owens home to make it one run from a tie game once more.

That brought Davis to the plate with the bases still loaded and one run need- ed With the count three and one, the next pitch seemed both low and inside, causing Davis to grin until the umpire loudly declared it a strike. Davis’ grin turned to a look of disbelief. He turned back to the batter’s box and stood in. Paskiewkscz’s next offering also was called a strike and third out.

It was finally over. Davis was crestfallen. Chinooks fans were disappointed. Miner fans were happy. Everyone agreed it was a good and exciting game.

The same two teams meet tomorrow night at 7. Next comes a much-needed day off.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

Fish gain 2-0 win over Mat-Su Miners

The Chinooks got back into a winning groove tonight as they played with re- newed energy, claiming a 2-0 win over their Valley rivals. It was a quick game featuring stellar defense on both sides.

Starting pitchers were both lefties, the Miners hurler Zach Warren a 6’4” freshman from the University of Tennessee and Ted Christie of Union University going for the Chinooks. Each went six innings with Warren giving up the runs.

Outstanding plays were made on each side. In the bottom of the second, Chi- nook first baseman Holt Davis blasted one toward right-center that was destined to go to the wall. Instead, Miner second baseman Caleb Wood, who is listed as being 5’10”, seemed to go 4 feet off the ground to snag the sphere for out number two. For the Chinooks, centerfielder Cadon Owens raced to his right, then dove to catch a sinking fly from Miner rightfielder Connor Wanhanen.

On the offensive side, there was little to record as both starting pitchers mixed a wide variety of offerings. Menez struck out nine while Warren recorded Ks for the first three men he faced, then added five more. Miner designated hitter Matt Diorio picked up a single in the fourth and advanced to second on a wild pitch only to be stranded there, then got another single in the seventh and was left standing on second. Owens singled for the Chinooks in the second and Matthew Furuto copy-catted him in the fourth—giving hope to home fans when he made it to third but was left there.

The first run of the game was by right-fielder Jacob Brobst who led off the sixth with a single, was sacrificed to second by Will Basss, got to third on Fu- ruto’s single, then tagged up and scored on an Andrew Mogg sacrifice fly to right. The other was recorded by Davis who walked, then was driven in by third baseman Patrick Cromwell.

Tomorrow the Chinooks go to Palmer and on Tuesday both are again here.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

Miners shut out Chinooks in 1-0 contest

The Mat-Su Miners shut out the Chinooks for the second time in a row to- night in a hard-fought 1-0 game at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. Eli Mor- gan, a right-hander from Gonzaga University, got the win. It was a tough loss for Grant Page who also pitched well. Page was tagged for five hits, walked one, hit one and was charged with a balk that did no damage.

Mat-Su’s run came in the fourth with one out. Shortstop Tyler Wolfe sin- gled, moved to second on catcher Zack Plunkett’s single, then scored when a sure out turned into a fluke RBI when the grounder hit second base and took a sidewise ricochet. The Chinooks continued their habit of getting the leadoff bat- ter out in every inning except one.

The Chinooks again had two runners reach third base only to be stranded there. The left-on-base line, in fact, shows that five Fish were on base when the third out was recorded. Had there been a replay possible in this league, one call might have been overturned. Jacob Brobst was called out at second in which Chinooks fans thought he made it in safely but was called out, his otherwise double turned into an out and recorded as a futile single. Cadon Owens, the next hitter, walked, stole second and made it to third on the catcher’s error. Had Brobst been on second, he likely would have scored when the attempt to get Brobst sailed into centerfield.

The Chinooks return home tomorrow to host the Glacier Pilots and on Sun- day and Monday will entertain the Miners in an effort to tighten up the race for first place in the division. On Thursday, they finally get a well-deserved day off after the stretch of 11 straight games.

A four-day road trip begins on July 3 when the Chinooks go to Mulcahy Sta- dium to visit the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and then head to Kenai for a three- day, three-game series with the Peninsula Oilers. On July 7 they return home to host the Pilots that evening and the Fairbanks Goldpanners on July 8.

In Saturday’s game, the teams will commemorate Cancer Awareness Night. A treadmill will be set up where a runner will clock mileage throughout the game to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. Fans will be asked to print the name of someone who is battling or who has survived cancer on a paper and at the top of the fifth inning will be asked to hold up the signs.

The annual Military Appreciation Game will be held Sunday, the game starting at 4 p.m. The first 400 fans will be
given coupons for free hot dogs provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River legislative delegation. Veterans

from World War II and subsequent conflicts will line the field with the players for the playing of the Nation- al Anthem. Fans are encouraged to come out to show their appreciation for those who defend our freedom. It is always a popular patriotic occasion.

Story by Lee Jordan

Miners claim first place with 4-0 victory

Chinooks pitchers sent eight of nine lead-off hitters to the bench tonight. So did the Mat-Su Miners. That was the closest statistic from the unofficial scoresheets.

Miner left-hander Calvin LeBrun used a good mixture of his arsenal to keep the Chinooks off-balance, his curves fooling them until too late to swing and his fast-ball effective when it counted. As a result, the home team runners were able to reach third three times—in the first, fourth and seventh innings. Unfortunate- ly, they all were left standing there when the third out was recorded.

Chinook starter Shane Armstrong gave up a walk to the second batter he faced, then watched him get to second on an error and score on the other miscue charged to his team.

In the second inning—the only one in which the leadoff man was not sent down—Miners catcher JJ Hancock collected an infield hit on a bunt that caught the Chinooks by surprise. Shortstop Tyler Wolf singled, a plunked batter moved both up 90 feet and a single by right-fielder Brick Paskiewiscz brought them home.

The visitors’ final score came in the ninth when designated hitter Matt Dio- rio singled to right and scored on a double by Nyles Nygaard. Nygaard was picked off second and tagged off base by Nook shortstop Hunter Hanks.

Armstrong, who was charged with the first three runs, was replaced in the top of the fourth with one out and the bases loaded, by Braxton Wilks.

The game was the fifth in a stretch of 11 straight games.

Tomorrow the home team travels to Palmer, then returns on Saturday to host the Glacier Pilots. On Sunday, when the Chinooks salute the military, it is an- other meeting with the Miners. The two current contenders for first place in their division play six games during the 11-game stretch which ends with a July 1 game at Chugiak. They meet five more times during the regular season.

In Saturday’s game, the teams will commemorate Cancer Awareness Night. The American Cancer Society will be there to present information on the dis- ease which Baseball organizations are working to eliminate. A treadmill will be set up where a runner will clock mileage to raise awareness of pancreatic can- cer. Fans will be asked to print the name of someone who is battling or who has survived cancer on a paper and at the top of the fifth inning will be asked to hold up the signs.

At the Sunday matinee, coupons for free hot dogs will be given to the first 400 fans who show up at the park. The treat is an annual event sponsored by the Chugiak-Eagle River legislative delegation. Veterans will accompany players as they are announced before the start of the game and will remain with them dur- ing the National Anthem. Air Force and Navy recruiters will be present to an- swer questions and talk with fans about their respective services. Military Ap- preciation Day is an opportunity to thank those who protect our nation.

Story by Lee Jordan

Weekend Promotions – June 27 & 28

Loretta French Park will be the place to be this weekend in south central Alaska.  The Chinooks are off to a hot start in the Alaska Baseball League and have some high level of competition coming to town.  Apart from the games on the field, the Chugiak-Eagle River community will come together for some enticing promotions and fun for the whole family.

 

Saturday, June 27 – Cancer Awareness Night sponsored by The Alaska Club

Chinooks vs Anchorage Glacier Pilots - 7 pm First Pitch

The Alaska Club is the official sponsor of the game with membership information at their table.  The American Cancer Society will also have a table set up.  A third table will have cards for fans to write the names of loved ones effected by cancer to be recognized in the top of the 5th inning.  Chugiak resident Martin Lindeke will be running on a treadmill from first pitch until final out to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer for Project Purple.

 

Sunday, June 28 – Military Appreciation Night

Chinooks vs Matsu Miners – 4 pm First Pitch

FREE HOT DOGS TO THE FIRST 400 FANS!

Chugiak-Eagle River Legislative Delegation

Local veterans will be on the field with the team during the National Anthem, including two World War II vets.  Recruiters from the Air Force and Navy will be present and the newest local Navy recruits will be honored on the field.

 

All the Chinooks games are played on Lee Jordan Field at the Loretta French Park Sports Complex in Chugiak along Old Glenn Highway.  Admission to all Chinooks home games are FREE so bring the whole family to see some of the best college baseball players in the country!

Win streak ends at eight, Pilots win 8-6

You can’t win them all, no matter how much you may want the streak to continue. The Anchorage Glacier Pilots came tonight with vengeance on their minds. No sooner than Chinooks starter Lucas Hamelink sent the first visiting batter back to the bench than things went awry. Two errors at short signaled that the ninth straight win would be hard to come by. After seven of the Anchorage nine came to bat, the scoreboard showed that four runs had come across.

Realizing that their work was cut out for them, the Chinooks settled in on defense. Hamelink was tagged by Pilot left-fielder Luke Hamblin for a triple, but the Nooks pitcher sat the next three batters down, leaving Hamblin stranded.

The Pilots were able to get two runners on in the top of the third but were denied thereafter until the eighth.

Meanwhile, the home team managed to come back with two runs in the bot- tom of the first on hits by Cameron Baranek and Matt Furuto. Baranek’s stop at second proved costly when he twisted a knee when turning and had to come out of the game. Holt Davis tripled to score Cadon Davis, Baranek’s pinch runner, and Futuro. One Chinook reached in the second and two others in the third, but all to no avail.

Hope for the home team was raised in the fourth when Patrick Cromwell reached on an error, Owens doubled and Jacob Brobst singled to load the bases. Furuto banged one to the fence in right field for a triple, clearing the bases. He scored on a wild pitch off Pilot starter Matt McCarry who was replaced to start the next inning. At that point, the Chinooks had taken the lead, 6-4.

There was hope that the home team’s great defense would come through to hold the score at that point. It was not to be. With one out in the top of the eighth, a new pitcher was tagged for three runs by the first three hitters to come to the plate. Before the inning was over the score was now 8 for the visitors. Side-arm slinger Travis Stone came in to close out the game without further damage. With six outs left in the game, the Fish were unable to make a come- back in this, the fourth in a string of 11 straight games without a break.

Plenty of action is on tap for the Chinooks faithful. Tomorrow night the Mat- Su Miners come to Chugiak and on Friday the Fish visit the Valley team. Satur- day the Pilots land once again in Chugiak. Saturday is Cancer Awareness Night with a number of related activities scheduled. All present will be asked to write the name of someone who has survived or is presently being treated for the dis- ease and will hold those up during a moment of silence in the fifth inning. All those games are at 7 p.m.

Sunday at 4 p.m. is the annual Military Appreciation game. Veterans will go out with players for the National Anthem. Coupons for free hot dogs will be given to the first 400 fans attending. Cadets from the National Guard Youth Academy will attend the game on Saturday and Sunday.

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks win eighth in a row in nail-biter

In their third straight appearance this week at Mulcahy stadium, this time going up against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, the Chinooks eked out a 1-0 win to make it eight victories in a row.

The Pilot starter, Matt Dennis, looked as though he might coast to a win to break the Chinooks’ winning streak of seven in a row. It was three up, three down for the first four frames. The fifth started with catcher Andrew Mogg grounding out to short. Then first-baseman Michael Staudinger came up and put Dennis’ third pitch out of the infield. That was followed by a Cadon Owens sin- gle, in turn followed by a walk to Braxton Wilks, the starting left-fielder. With the scoreboard still showing just one out, shortstop Hunter Hanks banged a liner to right which was hauled in for the second out. Third-sacker Patrick Cromwell walked, bringing up centerfielder Cameron Baranek. Baranek was sent back after a comebacker to Dennis who walked halfway to first, then tossed it over for the third out, stranding all three runners.

Fish fans who were hoping for a big inning were disappointed. Little did they know that it mattered not. For four more innings they sat on the edge of their seats, wondering if the one run lead would hold. Second-baseman Will Bass reached on an error in the sixth, Baranek walked in the eighth and Staudinger made it to first on a throwing error by the Pilots third baseman to sum up the entire Fish offense for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, on the home team’s side of the ledger after the lone visitors’ run had been recorded, five Pilots walked and one reached on an error. They just didn’t do it in order. Four men came up in the bottom of the fifth. That number came to the plate in the sixth; the first two just didn’t stay on base long, being erased by a Bass-to-Hanks-to-Staudinger double play. Four more reached in the seventh, three of them filling all the bases with only one out and causing a col- lective inhalation and breath-holding on the part of the Chinooks loyal. They were able to exhale when Wilks—who was brought in to pitch from his left field position to start the inning—got the Pilots’ third baseman to pop up on an infield fly, freezing the runners. He nonchalantly struck out the pinch hitter brought in to face him for the third out.

Wilks closed out the game in a miserly manner. The sixth batter in the order attempted to bunt his way on, but Cromwell raced in from third to field the ball and throw to first. One pitch, one out. The next batter teed off on the first pitch he saw, sending it to right field where Owens was waiting patiently. Two pitch- es, two out. It took three pitches longer to get the third batter, who lined to third where Cromwell tucked it away for the final out of the game.

WHEW! Their sigh almost drowned out the two horns blown by Chugiak fans to celebrate each good move on the part of their heroes.

Tomorrow night the Chinooks host the Pilots and Thursday the Miners at 7.

Nooks win seventh straight, 6-3 in 13 innings

The Chinooks trailed the Anchorage Bucs for four innings, but tied the game 3-3 in the top of the eighth. It was a nail-biter for both teams until the top of the 13th, when bad luck took over for a new pitcher on the mound. The unfortunate Ed Voyles, a freshman at Florida State, walked the first, third and fifth batters he faced—sandwiching a strikeout and a flyout to right to the even-numbered pair—to load the bases. Centerfielder Cameron Baranek, who had been on base three times in the game and scored the first run for the Fish in the sixth, slammed a fastball to the fence in right-center to clear the bases. The fleet- footed lefty dove into third base to complete the game-winning triple.

Good pitching on both sides—with the Bucs having a slight edge in that department for the first six innings—marked the fast-moving game.

Bucs starter Jeremy McDonald, a left-hander, only had one base runner through three, then gave up a single to Jacob Brobst to lead off the fourth. With one out, designated hitter Andrew Mogg doubled to send him to third. The last out left both men stranded.

The Bucs scored their runs in the bottom of the fourth, all of them unearned. First-baseman Stephan Trosclair, the Anchorage team’s top hitter, dribbled one into the infield. Chinooks starter Michael Fairchild fielded the ball at the third- base foul line, but overthrew Holt Davis at first, letting Trosclair reach second. Stephen Lohr walked, advanced on miscues at the plate, to be brought in on a ball hit by Justin Jacobs which in turn was mishandled. Brodie Leftridge then slammed one to left that was scored as an error and rolled to the fence, allowing Jacobs to score.

In the bottom of the fifth, the other Chinooks 2014 returnee, Shane Arm- strong, was brought in to replace Fairchild. He, CJ Lewington and Ted Christie, the latter coming in with one out in the bottom of the eighth, held the tall and talented Bucs at bay until the bottom of the eighth. Sidearm thrower Travis Stone then came in to shut things down. He gave up a single to the first man he faced, but put the next six down in order for the save.

For their side, the Bucs made a pitching change in the top of the seventh, bringing in Alex Garcia, a hard-throwing right-hander who graduated from high school this spring. Garcia sat down three straight, but was charged with a base- on-balls to Brobst leading off in the eighth, then was tagged for an RBI single to right by Will Bass. Bass then was driven home by catcher Tyler Boxwell.

By our unofficial scoresheet, the victors scored six runs on eight hits. They were given eight free passes and one hit batter—a call that was too hotly disputed by Bucs head coach Mike Grahovac and resulted in him being ejected.

Tomorrow night the Chinooks return to Mulcahy to visit the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. They come home on Wednesday to host the Pilots and entertain the Mat-Su Miners in another home-and-home series. All start at 7 p.m.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

6-1 win over Bucs makes it six straight

The Chinooks made it six straight wins tonight—a record since the Athletes in Action team moved to Chugiak-Eagle River in 2012—when they topped the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy Stadium by a score of 6-1 the run being unearned. They now trail the Mat-Su Miners by one game in the National Division.

The two division leaders will have a chance to solidify their positions as they have five meetings during an 11-game stretch that started tonight and continues until July 1. Interspersed will be a return visit to the Miners on Monday and three games with the Glacier Pilots, who are third in the division standings. How these five games between the top two teams turn out will likely determine which ends up in post-season top-of the-world tournament contention. But it’s far too early to start counting chickens.

The Bucs’ 6’7” Taylor Jones was on the mound today to face the visiting Chinooks. He also was in the lineup to hit for himself—as cleanup batter. He gave up a double to Matthew Furuto, batting second for the Fish, but the desig- nated hitter was the only one to reach base. Two Chinooks walked in the sec- ond and Jones threw a three up, three down third.

Chinooks fans found themselves a bit concerned in the bottom of the third when Brodie Leftridge, Bucs left-fielder, doubled, stole second, then came in on the only Chinooks error of the game.

Concern turned to cautious optimism, though, in the top of the fourth. Will Bass walked, Jacob Brobst singled, then Tyler Boxwell doubled, driving in Bass. Brobst rounded third, but Head Coach Jordan Vierra wisely threw up the stop sign out of respect for the opposing outfielder’s arm. Hunter Hanks then singled, bringing Brobst home. With no out and Hanks on third, Patrick Crom- well dropped a bunt in a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze, not only scoring Hanks but beating out the throw to turn the sacrifice into a single.

At that point, the Bucs manager and trainer came out to confer with Jones and the starter was pulled due to an injury. He was relieved by Jim Voyles, an even taller right-hander at 6’8”. Two other Fish reached base, but Voyles fin- ished the inning without further damage to his team.

Meanwhile, back on the visitors’ turns in the field, Page continued to pitch well, tapped for a single to lead off the fifth and watching a two-out double be nullified by a come-backer he tossed to Michael Staudinger at first.

Sidearm artist Travis Stone came in in the bottom of the seventh, walked one, struck out one and got the third out on a fly to right. Luke Eigsti, a 2015 high school graduate who will enter the University of Alabama Birmingham in the fall, closed it out in the bottom of the ninth on a scant handful of pitches used to get three ground-outs.

It was by far the most aggressive offensive effort of the season as Vierra called for hit and runs, the suicide squeeze, and steals to pressure the Bucs.

Story by Lee Jordan

Mogg gives Chinooks lead in 7-3 victory

Catcher Andrew Mogg’s lead-off homer in the bottom of the sixth inning put the Chinooks ahead, 4-3, and the Fish never looked back as they picked up their fifth straight win tonight, 7-3.

The Anchorage Bucs drew first blood with two runs in the top of the first when Zane Gurwitz drew a lead-off walk from Chinooks starter Lucas Hamelink. He was followed by Stephan Trosclair who reached on an overthrow at first by the third baseman, allowing both runners to advance. They scored on a double by Bucs 6’7” first-sacker Taylor Jones, putting the visitors ahead by two.

The ‘Nooks’ Cameron Baranek got the home team on the board in the bot- tom of the third after singling with two out, stealing second and coming in on a hit by Matthew Furuto.

In the fourth frame, Chinooks first baseman Michael Staudinger and Mogg each were walked by Bucs starter Eric Dunbar. After a ground-out, Dunbar hit each of the next two batters, giving Cadon Owens and Hunter Hanks each credit for a run batted in to tie the score.

With Ed Voyles taking the mound for the Bucs in the bottom of the sixth, Mogg put his first offering over the left field fence. The round-trip call was ar- gued by the visitors’ coach, who thought the ball might have bounced over, but the officials were emphatic as they made the circular motion declaring it a home run. It was the catcher’s second dinger of the season as a Chinook, his first com- ing in Fairbanks on Wednesday night.

CJ Lewington took the mound for Chugiak-Eagle River in the top of the fourth. With one out n the fifth he was replaced by Braxton Wilks who prompt- ly threw a double-play ball that ended the inning on the two-fer, Hanks to Bass to Staudinger. The performance, by the same actors, was repeated in the sixth to end a bases-loaded threat from the black-and-yellow visitors.

With Jeremy McDonald on the mound for the Bucs in the bottom of the eighth, Staudinger walked, Mogg walked, Owens reached on an error and all three scored on a blast to right by Hanks.

It was Meet the Chinooks night, with fans able to get photos and autographs from their favorite players.

There is no game tomorrow but there is an ice cream social at Peters Creek Baptist Church from 2-4 p.m. Fred Meyer has donated the goodies. Suggested donation is $5 for an individual or $15 to cover a family of four or more.

On Sunday and Monday the Chinooks travel to Anchorage to go up against the Bucs and return to Mulcahy Stadium on Tuesday to face the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

Fans who are unable to make the trip to Anchorage can watch the game via Web stream at www.cerchinooks.com and click on the Nooks Nation button.

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks sweep Goldpanners in 6-3 win

The Chinooks head home tonight after sweeping the Fairbanks Goldpanners with a 6-3 victory in the series’ third game. The players won’t get much sleep on the long trip as they mull many anxious minutes of the final three innings.

Until the seventh, the game was an exhibition of masterful pitching from both starting pitchers. Arizona State freshman right-hander Ryan Hingst got two quick outs before walking designated hitter Andrew Mogg. Holt Davis then sin- gled but Cameron Baranek flew out to center to end the first. Inspired, Hingst then sat down the next nine Chinooks in order except for Mogg, who led off the fourth by being hit by a pitch, only to get caught stealing.

Leading off in the fifth, Fish shortstop Hunter Hanks singled, then scored on a hard-hit single to left by David Morton.

Chinook pitcher Conner Menez, a left-hander from The Master’s College, was also on his game, not allowing a hit until there was one out in the bottom of the seventh. Until that inning only one Panner had reached base, that one on a free pass. Menez’ laser aim began to fade as the bottom of the seventh opened with a walk, a sacrifice bunt, the first single followed by an error and an RBI double. With two runs in and the bases loaded, Head Coach Jordan Vierra brought in Ted Christie who quickly got the last two outs.

Christie gave up a run in the bottom of the eighth. Jason Karkenny, a fresh- man from The Master’s College and brother of former Chinook Stephen, took over in the ninth and got the save.

The save came about due to a four-run top of the eighth and a capper in the ninth that brought the Chinooks bench to its feet.

Braxton Wilks, tonight playing in right field, led off only to be thrown out at first. A pinch-hitter for the left fielder singled, Mogg got on with a fielder’s choice that failed to get the out, and Michael Staudinger, who came in to hit for Davis, singled to load the bases. Up next, Baranek singled to bring in Probst from third, leaving the bases still full of red jerseys. Will Bass, hitting for Hanks, brought Baranek home. In the ninth, Morton led off with a single and scored before the inning ended.

The win moved the Chinooks’ record to 4-2, puttng them in first place in the three-team National Division after being in a three-way tie at 3-2.

After a short night’s sleep, the team will be at it again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. when they host the Anchorage Bucs—a strong member of the American division. The game is scheduled to be a Meet-the-Chinooks night where fans will be able to get photos with their favorite players, chat for a few minutes and secure autographs that soon could be valuable.

Saturday is an off-day but features an Ice Cream Social at Peters Creek Bap- tist Church where fans can again mingle with the players and enjoy ice cream donated by Fred Meyer, one of the Chinooks sponsors this year.

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks move to 3-2 on season tonight

The Chinooks looked good on both sides of the scorebook as they topped the Fairbanks Goldpanners 7-3 tonight. Giving up the first run to the leadoff batter to start the game failed to dampen the spirit of the visitors from Chugiak-Eagle River. Starting pitcher Michael Fairchild settled in, getting the second batter at second on a fielder’s choice, the fourth on a fly to Cadon Owens in center and striking out the fifth man to come to the plate.

Fairchild and the fielders behind him took care of the next 19 batters. In the process they pulled off a pair of double plays and a diving catch by Caleb Potter in left as well as a quick throw by catcher Andrew Mogg to catch the Panners’ leadoff man too far off first.

Knotting the score in the top of the fourth was first-sacker Michael Stauding- er who singled and was driven in by Mogg. In the sixth, it was Mogg who walked and came around to score. The catcher came through big in the seventh when, with two mates aboard and one out, he blasted one over the deepest part of Crowden Memorial Field to collect the Nooks’ first four-bagger of the sea- son. The scoring continued when Holt Davis, the next Fish up after Mogg’s blast, was plunked as he leaned in to bunt his way on. He was able to come in from first on a double by Potter.

The seventh run came across in the top of the eighth when Will Bass ad- vanced and scored on a single by Staudinger.

Fairchild put together seven strong innings and was relieved by Jamie Ball. The second double play, this one Hanks-unassisted-to-Staudinger and followed by a grounder completed by the same pair in the seventh, capped the starter’s very performance.

Ball, taking over in the bottom of the eighth, was aided by his fielders who took care of the seventh, eighth and ninth men in the Panner lineup.

There was a scare in the bottom of the ninth when the never-say-die home team’s shortstop sent one to the wall in left that Potter had to play off the bounce. Two singles and a walk brought two runs across and loaded the bases. With the tieing run coming to the plate, pitching coach Chris Beck paid a visit to the mound and Ball promptly sat down the last two batters to preserve the victory for Fairchild.

A note of caution for the Chinook faithful: The Fairbanks team roster is not yet complete, with players still involved in college post-season games and yet to head north. Tonight’s game had four locals—who acquitted themselves nicely, thank you—in the Panner lineup. The Goldpanners come to Chugiak on July 8 and 16 and will have a much different look when the rematch occurs.

Tomorrow night’s game starts at 5 p.m.in order to give the Chinooks a two- hour earlier start on the return trip home.

Friday they host the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. The game has a meet-the- Chinooks theme and fans will have an opportunity for pictures and to chat.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

‘Nooks go north for second ABL victory, 9-5 over Panners

Sunny skies at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks were welcoming for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks tonight as they overcame a big four-run inning by the host Fairbanks Goldpanners. It was not until the top of the fourth that things began to look brighter for the visitors, though.

Cameron Baranek led off in the first, getting to second when the left-fielder misjudged a ball hit his way. The speedy Baranek moved to third when Michael Staudinger singled, then scored on a double by catcher Andrew Mogg.

Things went downhill in the bottom half of the first, however. Starting pitcher Grant Page got ‘Panner third-sacker Andrew Carillo to ground to Shortstop Hunter Hanks, who threw to Staudinger at first to get the out. Trouble came by the bucketful when the host team’s Spencer Neilson, Nate Verlin and Renae Martinez all got on, scoring on catcher Brian Lees’ hit. Lees was gunned down on his way to home. A fourth run was scored by Scootter Bynum before Page was able to get the number eight batter to hit to Hunter for the third out.

The Fish added another run in the second when Hanks got on via a fielder’s choice, then was able to score on a hit by Baranek.

Page held the Goldpanners scoreless in the second but plunked Martinez with a pitch that went a little too far inside leading off in the bottom of the third. The left-fielder’s pain went away, however, when an errant pitch went all the way to the backstop and Martinez was able to advance to third. He then scored on a ground-out by the catcher Lees. Unfortunately for Fairbanks fans, that was the last chance they had to cheer in celebration.

The Chinooks’ Caleb Potter led off the fourth with a single, followed by David Morton with another and still another by Baranek. With the bases loaded, Matt Furuto took a pitch that caught him on the arm to force in Potter. Morton and Baranek then came in on a Staudinger double.

Staudinger, who was to reach base five times in the game, led off with a sin- gle in the seventh, and Cadon Owens, who also singled, were able to add two more runs in that inning. Will Bass and Staudinger added the final two runs in the top of the eighth.

On the defensive side, Potter made an outstanding catch, going to the warn- ing track and hitting the ground before raising his glove with the ball firmly clutched inside.

Page, who gave up five runs, four of them earned, was relieved by CJ Lewington with one out in the bottom of the fourth. He threw one pitch that ended with a double play, then struck out the next six Fairbanks batters. Braxton Wilks, who so far this season has played in the outfield, took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and closed out the game.

The Fish have two more games in Fairbanks, then return to Chugiak Friday to host the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. It is also Meet the Chinooks night.

Pitching excels as Chinooks come up winners over Pilots, 2-1

Was it the batting practice after their home opener, hot weather that prompted dis- carded undershirts or a special sermon in the morning that got the Fish fired up tonight? Whatever the motivation, it definitely showed as the Chugiak-Eagle River team marched onto the field at Mulcahy Stadium. They were to get seven hits, capitalized on a Glacier Pilots error, played sparkling de- fense—and pitched a combined seven and two-third innings of no-hit ball. Oh, and their two runs stood up.

Despite that, it was a nail-biter until the last out just shy of two-and-a-half hours after the first pitch.

The Pilots’ pitching was not shabby as their four hurlers compiled six one-two-three frames.

The only scoring was limited to two in- nings—two by the Chinooks in the third and one in the bottom of the ninth for the Pilots.

In the third, two outs had been recorded by Justin Dellenger, the Flyboys’ 6’3” righty, a junior from Texas State, when Cameron Barenek stepped to the plate. He singled sharply, then moved around on a single by Matthew Furuto and scored on a error by the Pilots’ catcher. Furuto then crossed the plate when Will Bass slapped the third straight single out of the infield.

Starting Chinooks pitcher Lucas Hamelink, a 6’3” right-hander from Hillsdale College, went four hitless innings before be- ing relieved by Union University’s Ted Christie, a 6’4” righty. His first opponent got aboard, stole second and was sacrificed to third only to be stranded there after Baranek made two sterling catches in center. Hamelink settled in and sat the next six bat- ter down in short order.

The Pilots’ Adalberto Carillo spoiled the no-hitter after two were out in the bottom of

eighth, slapping one just out of the reach of third-baseman Patrick Cromwell. Other than the effect of ruining the no-hitter, Carillo’s knock was to no avail as Cromwell threw the next batter out at first to end the inning.

Christie got the next batter to pop up to Michael Staudinger at first. The following Pilot batter drew a walk, then scored on a double by a Pilot pinch hitter. At that point Chinooks head coach Jordan Vierra called in sidearm slinger Travis Stone, a 5’11” right- hander from Stephen F. Austin University, to shut down the Anchorage team. He did so without taxing his arm to end the threat.

Baranek made a couple of outstanding plays—in one case going deep into the gap to pull in a fly that appeared to be destined to end up a triple in the scorebook. Braxton Wilks was also credited with a star on one that caused him to stretch his six-foot frame.

The team will be off tomorrow, then head north to the state’s second-largest city where they will face the team that pioneered the Alaska Baseball League under legendary manager “Red” Boucher—the Alaska Goldpanners. After the long bus ride, the two teams meet at Growden Memorial Field on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Fish then hop in the vans for the return trip home and a 7 p.m. Friday home game to en- tertain the Anchorage Bucs.

After losing the first two league games to the Mat-Su Miners, the Chinooks now stand at 1-2 in the ABL.

Fans interested in the individual player standings can find them on the Alaska Base- ball League official Web site, www.AlaskaBaseballLeague.org.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Chinooks’ sports information director Garett Mansfield for last night’s report. Lee Jordan was with his family, which led to a record attendance. 

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks come up short 3-1 to the Miners

Lee Jordan addressing the fans at ceremony to rename the field at Loretta French Park after him.

Lee Jordan addressing the fans at ceremony to rename the field at Loretta French Park after him.

Baseball is often a game of inches. In Saturday’s loss to the Matsu Miners at newly rededicated Lee Jordan Field, the Chinooks were mostly likely on the short end by less than a foot.

It began to be a reality when Vance Vizcaino of the Miners beat out an infield single with two outs in the top of inning number five. Vizcaino would steal second base and came in to score the second run of the game for the Miners when Matt Diorio had a single right back up the middle of the infield.

We would see this theory tested again in the top of the 6th when the Miners Chris Hall singled, had a steal of second base, and then came home to score on a single to center field by Alex Caruso. Chinooks center fielder Cameron Baranek nearly had Hall gunned down at home plate for the final out of the inning, but Hall made a nice slide behind catcher Andrew Mogg to give the Miners their 3rd run of the ball game.

The tough luck for the Fish carried over into the 8th inning when they got on the board. In a 3-1 game, a batter interference call on Will Bass was the second out of the inning when Matt Furuto was attempting to steal second base. It is hard not to question what could have been if this was not the case. In the bottom of inning number 9 the Chinooks had a pair of walks to lead off the inning before Miners closer Brick Paskiewicz picked off Holt Davis at second base and got pinch hitter Tyler Boxwell to ground into the game-ending double play.

It was difficult to get much going on the Miners starting pitcher Zack Warren. The slender southpaw hurled 6 scoreless innings against the Chinooks, fanned 7 and surrendered just 2 base hits.

Conner Menez took the hill for the Chinooks to start the ballgame and was impressive despite a few fits with his command in the third inning when he hit two Miners and walked one more to allow the first run of the game. Menez would have 5 strikeouts after the first 3 innings of play. Jason Karkenny worked an inning and a third allowing just one run in the 6th and was relieved by right-hander Shane Armstrong who worked the final 2 and two-thirds innings for the Chinooks. Armstrong would end the 7th and 8th innings with double-play groundballs.

Matt Furuto paced the Chinooks offensively with a pair of singles and the lone RBI. He also had an incredible diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Diorio in the 9th inning.

The Chinooks will head to Anchorage to play the Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Field Sunday night then take a day off before their trip to Fairbanks next week.

Four Former Chinooks Selected in 2015 MLB Draft

The dream of playing professional baseball is made into a real possibility for young men all over the continent.  Between June 8 and 10 of 2015, four players that wore the Chinooks blue and red at Loretta French Park took one step closer to becoming future big leaguers by being selected in the 50th Major League Baseball Draft.  Their selections are as follows:

Drew Turbin

Drew Turbin

Daniel Salters

Daniel Salters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Salters – 13th Round, Cleveland Indians

2013 Chinooks, Dallas Baptist University

Drew Turbin – 14th Round, Baltimore Orioles

2012 & 2013 Chinooks, Dallas Baptist University

Steven Karkenny – 19th Round, Milwaukee Brewers

2012 & 2014 Chinooks, The Masters College

Josh Altmann – 22nd Round, Texas Rangers

2014 Chinooks, Olivet Nazarene University

Josh Altmann

Josh Altmann

Jason Karkenny

Jason Karkenny

Legion All-Stars shut out, but gain chance to measure up next level of competition

CHUGIAK – The Chinooks racked up an average of two-and-a-small-fraction-runs per each of the seven innings tonight when they hosted the Chugiak-Eagle River American Legion All- Stars at the Loretta French Sports Complex.

Chinooks starter Luke Eigsti

Chinooks starter Luke Eigsti

For the All-Stars it was an opportunity to see the next higher level of completion when they faced off with the college-level Alaska Baseball League team.

For the Chinooks, it was an opportunity to work on some items that needed improve- ment as disclosed during their first two non- league games.

In particular, the game gave pitcher Luke Eigsti an opportunity to reverse the woes that were heaped on him in the first of three dress rehearsals on Tuesday. Himself a 2015 high school graduate, his second ABL appearance tonight was facing peers. He responded by striking out six of the ten batters he faced, walking only one and getting two opponents to fly out.

Heartening for the All-Stars was that both of their fly ball outs were hit deep to center field. The first was by All-Star center-fielder Matt Hess, who led off the third inning for the visitors, the second by the left-fielder—who happens to bear the same last name—Alex Hess, later in that frame.

Joy Needham, owner of game sponsor Home Optics, with Chinooks skipper Jordon Vierra

Joy Needham, owner of game sponsor Home Optics, with Chinooks skipper Jordon Vierra

 

Defensively, the visitors pulled off one double play.

Pitcher Chase Wilson started for the All- Stars and went for three strong innings. He was replaced in the fourth by Derek Henry and the game was closed out by Brad Sterns in the bottom of the seventh.

Chinooks relievers were Jamie Ball, Brax- ton Wilks and Travis Stone. On the offensive side, second-baseman Will Bass poled a triple in the third and designated hitter Michael Staudinger collected a double in the first.

The season opener is tomorrow at Palmer and the home opener is Saturday at 7 with a special ceremony scheduled at 6:30.

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