Chinooks Fall to Miners 6-3 in Opener

CHUGIAK – The Chugiak Eagle-River Chinooks (0-1) opened the 2014 campaign against the Matsu Miners (1-0) on Sunday evening, but a big ninth gave the guests a 6-3 victory. The Chinooks will look to bounce back against the same squad when the two teams meet in Palmer on Monday night.

“I thought our guys played well, but three soft hits came back to get us,” pitching coach Chris Beck said. “We are playing to win a series, so this is no big deal. These guys will bounce back.”

Offensively, the Chinooks found five base hits as a team, but third baseman Griffith Roark plated a run with a bases loaded walk and another on a sac fly. Mark Lindsay, Billy Arendt and Geoff Murphy each sparked a base knock, while Nick Covello’s 7th-inning double stood as the Chinooks’ lone extra base hit.

On the mound, Chugiak-Eagle River got strong outings from a number of players. Asuza Pacific’s Michael Fairchild hurled two scoreless innings before Shane Armstrong repeated the feat while adding three punch outs. Lance Phillips was the next man out of the pen, surrendering an unearned run and fanning four over 2.2 innings.

The Chinooks lost their designated hitter when Kyle Conkle came on for the save in the ninth inning, but the Miners welcomed the righty to the game with an offensive explosion. Of the four hits in the frame, three were softly hit, and two errors behind him only made things worse. The Miners wound up with a five run inning and were able to hold on for the 6-3 victory.

Centerfielder Cameron Frost and right fielder Dayne Wunderlich combined for four base hits for Matsu, while Kyle Serrano and Hayden Howard gave the Miners six strong innings. Seve Romo (1-0) hurled the final three and qualified for the victory after the top of the 9th.

You can view tonight’s box score here.

The Chinooks and Miners return to action on Monday night from Hermon Brothers Field. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm.

Booster Meet and Greet on Eve of Opening Day


Chris Beck, general manager and pitching coach, speaking to team and Chinooks Booster Club.

Members of the Chinooks Booster Club, the 2014 Chinooks roster, and host parents for the players joined in fellowship Saturday evening to give a ceremonial kick-off to the upcoming season.

This was an opportunity for the players to meet face to face with the people that make their journey to and through Alaska possible.

“It’s good for these guys to see what goes on before they get here,” says Chinooks skipper, Jon Groth.  “These people in this room for months have been preparing for the arrival of these 26 players.  A lot of work goes into it and it’s a way for us to meet and greet those who have invested a lot of their time, energy, and resources into these kids so they have a life memory this summer.”

The annual event is not just a privilege for the players, but really is a community affair.  State representative Bill Stoltze was in attendance and addressed the team and the boosters after their meal to officially welcome this generation of Chinooks to Chugiak-Eagle River.  Chris Beck, general manager and pitching coach of the Chinooks, spoke to the boosters for a short time to reiterate the profound appreciation Athletes in Action Baseball has for the opportunity to play in the small community just north of Anchorage.

After Groth delivered his address to the fans, the players got an opportunity to introduce themselves.  Players took turns sharing where they played their college baseball, their hometowns, and their positions.  The excitement in the room was apparent.

Just how excited was everyone?  “On a scale of one to ten, about 5,000,” says Alan Clemens, marketing director of the Chinooks Booster Club.  “We’ve been looking forward to this since the end of last season.”

From last season to this year, the ‘Nooks have brought back three players:  Lance Phillips, Griffith Roark, and Nicholas Covello.

“I’m just looking forward to getting in front of the fans and enjoying the Alaskan air,” says Roark, an infielder returning from Oklahoma State.  Having guys on the team that played last season is a valuable resource in all collegiate summer leagues.

“The thing they bring to the table more than anything is letting other guys know what to expect,” says Groth.  “That’s a big deal.”

This journey to Alaska for many players is about much more than baseball.  Athletes in Action makes that clear with how they impact the players on a much deeper level than forwarding themselves as athletes.  Roark drives this point home when he says, “The stuff you learn off the field is going to be life changing.  That’s why I came back.”

Athletes in Action has fielded a team in the Alaska Baseball League since 2001.  Sunday, June 8 will be the third opening day for the Chinooks at Loretta French Park.  The ‘Nooks welcome in the Mat-su Miners with first pitch scheduled for 5 pm AKDT.

“These guys are excited to be here,” says Jon Groth.  “Looking forward to getting going.”

Four Former Chinooks Taken In Final Day of 2014 MLB Draft

After 40 rounds and 1,215 selections in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft, four of those selections have found their way from the National League of the Alaska Baseball League into the National League of Major League Baseball.

Athletes in Action Baseball squads in Alaska have pumped some quality talent into baseball’s highest level, such as Josh Donaldson and others.  Taylor Aikenhead, Caleb Dirks, Collin Radack, and Daniel Salters are the latest draft picks looking to flourish at the next level that have had association with AIA Baseball and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks.

Caleb Dirks was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 15th round (463rd overall).  Dirks pitched collegiately at California Baptist University and was a member of the “original” Chinooks roster in 2012 and 2013.  Over two summers as a Chinook, Caleb started 15 games and threw 87 innings.  The Riverside, California native picked up 8 saves this spring for CBU and struck out 52 batters in just 41 innings.

The St. Louis Cardinals chose outfielder Collin Radack in the 20th round (615th overall).  Radack attended Hendrix College where we was a .389 career hitter over his four years there and led the Chinooks in hitting last summer by posting a .310 average.  He also was tied for the team lead in RBIs last summer in addition to being one of three players to record a home run.

Another one of those players to hit a dinger was catcher Daniel Salters.  Salters was picked by the Washington Nationals in round 22 (664th overall).  He drove in 8 runs while hitting .226 for the Chinooks in 2013.  Salters and Radack represented the ‘Nooks in the 2013 Alaska Baseball League All-Star Game.

Recalling back to 2011, Taylor Aikenhead was also an All-Star selection from the organization that received a call from a big league club on Saturday.  The southpaw will be heading to the San Diego Padres organization after becoming a 32nd round pick (957th overall).  Aikenhead played for AIA Baseball in 2011 when the team was still located in Fairbanks as the Alaska Fire.  This past spring, he was a workhorse at Cal State-Bakersfield logging 106.1 innings over 15 starts.  Yes, that is averaging over 7 innings per start.

With the 2014 ABL Opening Day right around the corner and producing four MLB prospects, the excitement around the diamond in Chugiak-Eagle River is as high as ever this weekend.

Chinooks Ace Mike Jeffreys To Sign Professional Contract With Kansas City Royals

Mike JeffreysRoyals


EAGLE RIVER, ALASKA- July is the heart of Salmon season. It is known to local residents as the time of year when King Salmon run north up Alaskan rivers for their swan song. This particular season, however, will be remembered for a Chinook headed south to a new beginning, one in which he will actually become a King.

Chugiak-Eagle River Pitcher Mike Jeffreys is on the next plane out for Surprise, Arizona, the Spring Training home of Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Upon his arrival in the desert, fresh ink will be placed on the document making official Mike’s agreement to sign a professional contract as the newest member of the organization.

Jeffreys departure for Surprise comes as no surprise to fans of the Alaska Baseball League who have watched the right-hander develop into the Chinooks ace across the past two seasons. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native turned heads most recently during this past weekend’s scouts showcase games and All-Star Classic at Mulcahy Park.

“I’m just glad I was blessed with the opportunity to throw well over the weekend,” Jeffreys said, “obviously this is a dream come true for me as a baseball player. While I will miss all the guys on the team and playing here in Alaska, I’m very excited about the next step.”

Throughout his two year stint in the Frontier State, Jeffreys has led the club in wins and strikeouts. Mike quickly became a fan favorite for both his pitching talent and positive attitude. While interest was shown by several major league clubs, it is fitting that he has chosen the Royals, since he was last season’s overall ABL strikeout king.

“One of the reasons I picked the Royals is the ability to be a part of the foundation on a team that is building for the future. They also have a very good history with developing young pitchers,” Jeffreys stated.

Mike will forgo his Senior season at Geneva College to begin the climb through the minors at Class-A Burlington, North Carolina in the Appalachian League. He is expected to join the team there later this week. Part of his agreement with Kansas City involves the opportunity to finish the Engineering Degree he has nearly completed at some point in the future.

Jeffreys joins several notable Chinooks (formerly known as the AIA Fire) who have signed pro contracts in recent years including Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Josh Donaldson. Both position players are currently in the Major Leagues with the Mets and Athletics respectively.

For more information on Mike Jeffreys or the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks visit


With Governor Sean Parnell On Hand, Fish Rally Late But Come Up Short vs Miners in ABL Action

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The next-to-last regular season game with the Mat-Su Miners tonight had the hometown fans on the edges of their seats, but a late-inning rally came too late, with too few runs added to the scoreboard. It followed another late-inning rally at Her- mon Brothers Field on Sunday in a game that fell one run short.

After being sat down one, two, three in the top of the first tonight, the visitors from the Valley came back in the second inning to score once. They repeated in the fourth, then doubled the tally in the fifth. A four-run seventh inning seemingly put the game out of reach.

The Mat-Su starter only gave up two hits through five, letting only five fish reach base. A pitching change in the sixth gave a chance for the fans to yell “Fish on” a couple of times, but successive force-outs put the kibosh on hopes for a rally.

Things started looking up for the home team in the bottom of the eighth when lead-off batter Daniel Salters punched one deep into the outfield, but wisely elected to head back to first when a strong throw came in to second. It mattered not that he did not stretch it into a double because Danny Arthur left no doubt about his two- bagger. Salters scored easily then was himself driven in by Ryan Shackleford. A strikeout and a pair of infield popups quickly shut down the brief fish run.

A Miners sidearm slinger took over the mound and his 2-1 pitch was jumped on by Tyler Krahn who coasted in to third standing up. Krahn scored when Saltlers followed with a single after Griffin Gum’s dribbler was tossed to first by the pitcher. The Valley pitcher then plunked Arthur and repeated the favor to Shackleford. Nick Covello popped up at the plate for the second out after still another pitching change.

With the score at that point 7-4 in favor of the visiting nine, Turbin came up with the bases loaded. The Chinooks third baseman found himself in what every kid in America dreams of—coming up with the bases loaded and the chance to drive in the winning run. In this case it was not the bottom of the ninth, but the eighth and Turbin did not have the comfort of an imagined situation. He swung and missed twice and watched a pair sail by out of the zone. The next pitch was down the pike and he took a hefty swing, smacking the ball mightily and sending it deep, deep into right field—where the Miners fielder hauled it in on the warning track.

With Chugiak-Eagle River having its last opportunity to keep the rally going and the top of the order up, another pitching change was made. The Valley closer ended the game with a fly to deep center off the bat of Collin Radack, a strikeout and then a popup to short.

Tomorrow night at 6 the same two teams go at it again at Loretta French Park. That game will be sponsored by Laborers’ Local 341. The sponsor will also feed the team as did tonight’s sponsor, Eagle River Presbyterian Church. A large contingent of Presbyterians turned out to support the team after dining at a tailgate party in the parking lot.

On Friday and Saturday the Chinooks will travel to Mulcahy Park to take part in a series of games in the annual Alaska Baseball League Showcase Games. This event is designed to give baseball scouts from around the country an opportunity to look over the cream of the collegiate crop in summer baseball action. On Friday at 1 p.m., the Chinooks again play the Miners and on Saturday at 4 p.m. they are hosted by the Anchorage Bucs.

A Home Run Derby will be held at Mulcahy on Sunday.

Next week’s schedule has the final six games of the Chinooks—all on their home field. Monday at 6 they host the Peninsula Oilers. That date is also Fan Appreciation Night when fans will receive a large number of prizes. Children will be able to run the bases and members of the Chinooks Booster Club will have an opportunity to meet with the players and share their post-game meal.

On Tuesday there will be a doubleheader with the Fairbanks Goldpanners. The first game will begin at 4 p.m. and will go seven innings.

Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department will sponsor Thursday’s game with the An- chorage Bucs at 6 p.m. and will be recognized with thanks for their service to the community.

The Major League Baseball Network’s Strike Zone will be here Friday for the 6 p.m. game with the Bucs. The Strike Zone will be set up prior to the game and fans of all ages will be able to show off their pitching skills and get a variety of prizes. Mata- nuska Telephone Association will be giving out freebies to everyone who attends.

The finale will be Saturday when the Bucs complete their three-day stand here at 6 p.m. Fans are invited to come early to celebrate Military Appreciation Night. Rep. Dan Saddler is arranging for the armed services to be recognized in a pre-game cere- mony featuring patriotic music honoring all the branches.

There is to be a post-season tournament early the following week Details of that will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

Cover photo provided by Al Clemens

Fish Push Miners To The Brink With Memorable 9th Inning Comeback In Mat-Su Valley Finale, Fall 5-4

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The skies again were sunny over Hermon Brothers Field tonight and the weath- er was warm, with a light (for Palmer) wind blowing. Things almost ended up pretty for the Chinooks.

As has happened so many times this season, the fish began to run late in the game. In this one they had the home crowd holding their collective breath in the top of the ninth inning. It was the last home game of the season for the Mat-Su Miners and it looked as though their early lead would be blown. But let’s keep the suspense hanging while the game is recapped.

As visitors looking for a sixth win for the season and their first regular-season victory over the neighboring Miners, the Chinooks were aggressive at the plate. With one out and two men on, the number three and number four batters each ran their counts well into double digits before missing.

Mat-Su’s starting pitcher Phillip Orr proved to be equal to the task, striking out five of the visitors in the first three innings. He had been bolstered in the top of the third when right-fielder Ben Wylly singled, then scored on a double. The inning ended when Chinooks right-fielder Griffin Gum saved another run by making a div- ing catch deep and close to the line in right.

Determined to stay in the game, the ’Nooks sent five men to the plate in the fourth, getting as far as third but seeing that runner and one other left stranded.

Fans on the visitors’ side were brought to their feet in the top of the fifth when Griffin Gum walked and stole second, at which bag he stood when Drew Tur- bin came to the plate. Turbin slapped one over the infield. Gum raced from second and slid safely across home plate, around the catcher’s tag, to put the fish on the board, knotting the game at one-all.

It didn’t stay there long. The Miners came up with one in their half to move ahead. They went on to score twice again in the bottom of the sixth on a single, a triple and a pitch that got away from the catcher.

Ryan Shackleford started the seventh inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Tyler Krahn. The fourth hitter in the inning hit into a double play to shut things down.

Unfazed, the Miners’ Ben Wylly lifted one over the fence where he patrols when in right field. The knock put his team up 5-2 – usually considered a fair lead the closer could finish off with a save.

They didn’t count on the Chinooks’ determination. Griffin Roark was hit by a pitch, moved up when Gum walked, then both went 90 feet farther when a balk was called. An error on the Miners’ second-baseman put Shackleford on and Daniel Arthur singled, scoring both Roark and Gum. The bases were loaded with one out when a player who just from the git-go had been having a bad night hit into a double play to end it, 5-4. It was close, but in sports, close only counts in horseshoes

The Chinooks were left with only five wins in league play. They hope to do more than get close Tuesday and Wednesday when the Miners visit Loretta French Park to wrap up the series. Game time both nights is 6 p.m. The Chinooks are off to- morrow night, preparing for the annual Showcase games and home run derby at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage. The team then returns for a big final week at home.

Cover Photo by Al Clemens

Chinooks Drop First Game Of Five Game Stretch Vs Mat-Su Miners, Back In Action Sunday At 4PM

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

It was pretty tonight at Hermon Brothers Field under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the warm category. But that was the scenery and the weather. It was not so pretty for the visiting Chinooks. Of the 15 runs scored, only two were by the visitors from Chugiak-Eagle River.

While the Chinooks collected only seven hits in the ball game, they were a big hit again in this year’s Bear Paw Parade through downtown Eagle Riv- er Saturday morning. The route along Business Blvd. and Old Glenn Hwy. was crowded with spectators who cheered their hometown team as the play- ers walked the route, waving and exchanging smiles with their fans.

In the game, Asa Johnson did a yeoman’s job on the mound for six innings, throwing a total of 95 pitches, 58 of them strikes and 37 judged to be outside the strike zone. He was tagged for four runs on six hits, the defense giving up four of their six errors during his time on the mound. Tiring in the bottom of the sixth frame, the 6’2” Bonvaenture junior saw three Miners reach base after the first two batters were retired. Bearing down, he got the third out on the sixth man to come up in the inning, escaping a bases-loaded jam.

Scoring first for the Chinooks was Griffin Gum who singled in the fourth and was driven in by Stephen Ventimilia. Jake Murray, who was put in as a pinch runner for Daniel Arthur in the eighth, scored the other run on an RBI double by Ryan Shackleford. Three times the Chinooks reached third, only to die there.

The same two teams meet tomorrow at 4 p.m. on the same grounds, but the Chinooks are looking for a far different outcome.

After a day off on Monday, the Miners will come to Chugiak on Tuesday and Wednesday in games starting at 6 p.m.

A big week comes up after a weekend of Showcase games and a home run derby at Mulcahy Park in Anchorage. The Chinooks finish the season at home with Fan Appreciation night on Tuesday and Military Appreciation on Saturday. The Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department will display its equipment at the field on Thursday and Matanuska Telephone Association is bringing the Major League Baseball Network Strike Zone setup here on Friday. People are invited to show off their pitching skills and collect prizes.

A post-season tournament will be held the following week, with the tour- nament schedule to be finalized in the coming days. At least two of the games are expected to be played at Loretta French Park, home of the Chinooks.

Cover Photo by Al Clemens

Goldpanners Complete Sweep Of Chinooks In Fairbanks, Miners Next Up After Day Off On Friday

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The Fairbanks Goldpanners completed a three-game sweet of the Chi- nooks tonight at Growden Memorial Park in the Golden Heart City. At 5-1, the third was the tightest of the trio with the team that now stands atop the closely-matched league.

Chinooks starter Devin Stanton, usually called upon for a relief appear- ance, was in that role due to the stretch of 10 games in as many days—a schedule that included a seven-hour drive to get to Fairbanks in time for the first game. A two-out homer by the third batter to come to the plate in the bottom of the first apparently rattled the left-hander. The first man up in the second frame got a double, one of three plus two singles to bring four runners across before the final out was collected.

Andrew Klausmeier, another bullpen regular, came in in the bottom of the third and held the ’Panners scoreless for the rest of the night. He retired nine straight batters, the only one to reach base safely being sat down courte- sy of a Griffin Roark-to-Nick Covello-to-Tyler Krah twin killing.

Twice thereafter the next-to-least-tall man on the squad found himself with runners on third. Twice the hard-throwing right-hander escaped dam- age. The second of those nail-biters was in the bottom of the seventh when the first man up, the number nine hitter, singled and was moved to second then third on a single and a fielder’s choice. With a one-and-two count on the three-hole hitter, Klausmeier enticed a grounder to second. Griffin Roark smoothly scooped the ball into his glove, made a seamless transfer and fired a strike to Zach Harbison behind the plate. Harbison nailed the runner from third for the second out. Thus relieved, Klausmeier’s fastball sat the clean-up hitter down in short order.

The Chinooks’ only score came from a determined Griffin Gum. He made it safely to first on an error. With nothing to lose, he raced to second on the next pitch. With the Fairbanks infield not paying attention, he nonchalantly headed for third on the next one. The surprised Fairbanks catcher threw the ball into left field and the Chugiak-Eagle River right-fielder strolled home. The disastrous four-run second inning started off with a fluke grounder down the third-base line. Drew Turbin was all set to corral the ball and make his customary strong throw to first when the ball hit the bag and bounded over the third-sacker’s head into left field.

The loss ran the ’Nooks’ record to five wins and 15 not-wins—many of those actually going down as almosts.

With a day off tomorrow to try to rest after an all-night drive south, the team will go to Mulcahy to meet the Mat-Su Miners in a Showcase game at 1 p.m. That series puts all six teams on the field to give baseball scouts from around the country an opportunity to see them in action.

They will rise early Saturday morning to take part in the Bear Paw Parade and other activities in downtown Eagle River, then return to Anchorage to meet the Anchorage Bucs in another Showcase game at 4 p.m.

Next week starts off with the Alaska Baseball League Home Run Derby on Sunday, also at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium.

The final regular season games are at home and will feature a grand finale with Fan Appreciation Night on Monday, a doubleheader with the Goldpan- ners, a day off, a Thursday game sponsored by the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, the MLBN Strike Zone brought to Chugiak by Matanuska Tele- phone Association, and Military Appreciation Night being arranged by Rep. Dan Saddler on Saturday.

Returning this season will be a post-season ABL tournament featuring five teams, with a couple of those games slated to be played at Loretta French Park, the home of the Chinooks.

League Leading Goldpanners Make It Consecutive Losses For Fish In Fairbanks, Finale 7pm Thursday

The second of a two-game stand in Fairbanks against the Goldpanners lacked the ninth-inning drama of last night’s contest but the outcome was even less satisfying for the Chinooks. It ended 7-1 in favor of the hosts.

It just wasn’t a good night for the visitors from Chugiak-Eagle River. After Nick Covello’s lead-off double to open the game, the only offensive highlight was a solo homerun by Chance Gusbeth with two out in the top of the second. In only three subsequent innings did more than the minimum three fish come to the plate.

The Fairbanks starter, Dingilian, had a good night, striking out 10, his offerings barely nicking the strike zone time after time. He walked none and had one slip out of his hand, pinging Collin Radack as the Chinook center- fielder led off the fourth. The second of three Fairbanks pitchers gave up the only walk allowed by the host pitchers.

The Chinook hurlers, on the other hand, had more trouble finding the mark and sent their missiles deeper into the zone. The ’Panners capitalized, getting 10 hits while earning five walks while two batsmen were nipped and sent to first to rub off any possible bruises.

While the offense was disappointing, the Chugiak-Eagle River nine made some sparkling defensive plays.

In the bottom of the second, first baseman Chance Gusbeth leapt high to knock down a rap sailing over his head, enabling James Scott, the Chinooks starter, to snap up the sphere and make the putout. In the fourth, Jake Murray made a diving catch in left field to get the out and prevent a runner from pos- sibly scoring from first. Unfortunately, there were a couple of official errors and another that could have been scored an E that caused part of the damage.

The Goldpanners scored two in the bottom of the first, four in the third, and one in the fifth.

Lance Phillips relieved Scott in the bottom of the sixth and caused his

teammates to hold their breath when he walked the first three batters he faced. He apparently got the message given in a quick visit to the mound by pitching coach Chris Beck: he got the fourth man up to hit a sharp grounder to Gusbeth, who fired the ball to Daniel Salters behind the plate, then took Salt- ers’ throw to the bag to complete the double play. Phillips then struck out the next batter to end the inning without giving up a run. There was a universal exhaling on the visitor side.

Bryce Clifton came in to put a capper on in the top of the eighth, using only eight pitches to get three fly outs.

Tomorrow night at 7 the Chinooks finish the away string, then go to Palmer, after taking Friday off, for a pair of games against the Miners.

There will be home games July 16 and 17 before entering the Showcase Games and Home Run Derby at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage. They complete the regular season at home with a big week full of activities to delight the hometown fans.

Chugiak-Eagle River Late Rally Falls Short In First Of Three Against ‘Panners in Fairbanks

There was ninth inning drama tonight in Fairbanks, but too little came too late once again. The Goldpanners came out on top, 7-4.

Ninth-inning drama consisted of analyzing the strategy going through the minds of the teams’ managers. With Fairbanks ahead 7-2 going into the top of the ninth, the Goldpanners put in relief pitcher Joey Capistran. Chugiak-Eagle River right-fielder Griffin Gum, who was two-for-three with a double and a triple, was up. He drove the first pitch deep, ending up on second for the second time in the evening.

That brought up first-sacker Tyler Krahn, hitless in three at-bats. Krahn poked a single through, scoring Gum. Left-fielder Chance Guspeth made it to first safely. Catcher Zach Harbison singled, driving in Krahn who had advanced. Shortstop Stephen Ventimilia came up and grounded to the ’Panner shortstop, who threw out Harbison at second for the first out.

That brought up the top of the Chinooks’ order with but one out and two runners aboard.

Now the strategy quandary: For the Chinooks, do you go to the bench or leave in your starting lineup? For Fairbanks, do you chance loading the bases with the always-dangerous Collin Radack waiting his turn at bat? A grand slam would put the fish one run up. Was a fireman sufficiently warmed up in the bullpen?

The Chinook decision: Yes. The Fairbanks choice: No.

The result you already know from the headline and the lead-in to this article.

Was it better pitching from the home team, poor hitting from the visitors, or the long ride between Chugiak-Eagle River and the Golden Heart city that made the difference? This writer can’t answer because he was not there and depended solely on the impersonal play-by-play seen on his new computer.

Goldpanner starter Mikey Ramirez was in the hole early when Chinooks designated hitter Nick Covello got on on an error when he led off at the top of the first. He moved to second on second-baseman Griffith Roark’s ground- out, then made it to third on a passed ball. He was left there, however, on two straight strikeouts.

Chinook starter Caleb Dirks was masterful in the bottom of the first, get- ting two ground outs and a pop fly to set the opposition down one, two, three. Gum got his triple to lead off the second, but was left stranded there when

Ramirez enticed the next three batters to hit softly into the infield.
It was the bottom of the second when trouble struck. The first batter singled, the second walked on a full count, the third was out on a successful bunt that moved both men up 90 feet. The next batter doubled in both runs. Following him was number-eight-hole batter Alex Rubanowitz who got a two- run knock.

Visitor Ventimilia tripled in the bottom of the third, then scored on Covel- lo’s sacrifice fly to right. Gum added the second run after doubling in the fourth and scored on an error handling Harbison’s hit through second.

Fairbanks added three insurance runs in the fifth.

Kenny Knudsen came in in relief to start the bottom of the sixth and held the ’Panners scoreless, giving up only two hits in three innings of work.

The Chinooks play two more in Fairbanks before coming back to enjoy a day off, then travel to Palmer for a pair of games. Their next home game will be Tuesday, July 16, when they host the Mat-Su Miners at 6 p.m. and again at that hour on Wednesday.

Two big events are coming up the following week. On Monday, July 22, the team will celebrate Fan Appreciation Night at 6 p.m. There will be lot of prizes and a chance to meet the players and get pictures. The last scheduled game will be Military Appreciation Night on Saturday, July 27, also at 6 p.m. It caps a big week of events, including the MLBN Strike Zone sponsored by Matanuska Telephone Association on Friday, the 26th.

Chinooks Walk-Off With 11th Inning Victory Over Oilers For Back To Back Home Wins

Game Recap Provided By Lee Jordan

With the weather a little better and a win Sunday over the first-place Fairbanks Goldpanners under their belts, the Chinooks refused to give in to the Peninsula Oilers tonight. The Oilers stung the fish last week in a four- game sweep at Kenai. The Chugiak-Eagle River nine just weren’t going to lose at home. It took 11 innings to do it, but they did it.

Drew Turbin was the hero, gaining a two-out walk-off hit with two teammates on base.

Let’s recap the game before getting to the drama of the final inning.

The Oilers drew first blood, scoring two runs in the top of the third. Those were the only two tallies given up by Mike Jeffreys. The strikeout meister who returned from the 2012 Chinooks team where he led the league in Ks, pitched three more scoreless innings before being relieved in the sev- enth.

Andrew Klausmeier took the mound and sat the visitors down without scoring. In the bottom half of the seventh the fish were on again, this time scoring once.

The Oilers also scored once more, in the top of the eighth.

A look at the scoreboard at that point showed the Chinooks were down one run with six outs left in which to get three runs in order to go ahead and avoid another loss. They did it. Unfortunately, the Oilers also looked at the scoreboard and decided they didn’t want to fall to the team they had put into the loss column five times previously. They scored once in the top of the ninth to tie the score at four-all.

Klausmeier was relieved with one out in the ninth, with Bryce Clifton called upon to control the bats of the visitors. He got the needed two outs in the ninth, then held the Oilers scoreless in the top of the tenth, then repeated the feat in the eleventh, giving up just one hit—to the lead-off batter. That runner didn’t even make it to second, being forced by the next man up. The third man up, the nine-hole hitting left-fielder for the Peninsula team who is a prolific hitter, grounded out, Clifford Roark at second to Tyler Krahn at first. Clifton got the fourth man up to ground out, also to Roark, to get his team to the bottom half.

third man up, the nine-hole hitting left-fielder for the Peninsula team who is a prolific hitter, grounded out, Clifford Roark at second to Tyler Krahn at first. Clifton got the fourth man up to ground out, also to Roark, to get his team to the bottom half.

Leading off for the Chinooks in the bottom of the eleventh was shortstop Stephen Ventimilia, batting ninth in the Chugiak-Eagle River lineup. He drew a walk, raising the “fish on” cry from fans on the third base side. Nick Covello, tonight’s designated hitter, sacrificed the lead runner to second. Roark struck out, causing heavy sighs on the home team bleachers. Hopes soared, though, when the Oiler manager decided to intentionally walk Collin Radack, the hard-hitting centerfielder for the fish, to get to Turbin. Ventimil- ia had advanced to third on the succession of plays, runners left at the cor- ners.

Even though the late evening cloudy skies dimmed the natural light, pitching to Turbin turned out to be a mistake for the visitors. It was the best thing that could happen to the Chinooks. Turbin promptly drove one through the infield, bringing Ventimilia scampering home with the winning run. He was mobbed by the entire roster after jumping on the plate.

The team drives to Fairbanks early tomorrow morning to play the first in a three-game series with the Goldpanners. They are off on Friday, then return to Southcentral to visit the Mat-Su Miners on Saturday and Sunday. Follow- ing another off day, they host the Miners on Tuesday, July 16, in a game sponsored by Eagle River Presbyterian Church, and the next day the same two teams square off in a Wednesday game sponsored by Laborers’ Local 341.

Be sure to wear your colors to welcome the team back home on July 16. Let’s hope the win streak continues as the guys show off their great talent. It’s time the close ones come out in their favor instead of the other guys’.

Cover Photo by Al Clemens

Fish Provide Late Excitement In Securing First Alaskan League Home Victory of 2013

Chinooks Never Trail In 5-4 Win vs League Leading Goldpanners On Sunday Night

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

Judging by the reaction of the people on the third-base side of the diamond at tonight’s Alaska Baseball League game at Loretta French Park, one might have thought the Chinooks had won the World Series. It felt that good.

All that actually happened was that the last-place team knocked off the first -place Fairbanks Goldpanners by a score of 5-4. Fairbanks dropped to 10 wins and six losses while the Chinooks rose to 4-17. It had been a long drought for the fish.

The fans sat through three hours of close plays as the weatherman kept changing the conditions from sunshine to rain to wind and back again. The tempera- ture under sometimes cloudy, sometimes sunny skies was in the low 60s. It felt like the low 50s, though, when the wind blew the dampness through light outer wear.

Public address system problems that plagued last night’s game continued. Stop-gap measures arranged by Booster Club director Al Clemens restored sound in time for a pre-game ceremony honoring long-time Chugiak residents Cliff and Doro- thy Gilmore. It went off again, but assistance from Chinooks pitcher and electronics guru Hunter Totemeier got things going again, although not quite at the same deci- bel level as in the past. Lost in the process was music from the library of Jackson Beck. PA announcer Dave Stroh covered nicely, filling the gap between innings with chatter ranging from comments on the weather to needling Rep. Bill Stoltze, sponsor of the game and presenter of gifts to the Gilmores.

But enough chit-chat. Let’s get to the game and savor every moment.

Determined to change things, the Chinooks came out swinging in the bot- tom of the first after starting pitcher Asa Johnson got three fly-outs despite giving up a double, leaving the lead-off man standing on second.

Leading off for the home team, Nick Covello drew a walk after running the count full. He was sacrificed to second by Griffin Roark and scored on a double to left center by centerfielder Collin Radack. Radack in turn scored on a sacrifice fly by right-fielder Griffin Gum after stealing third.

The anticipation was slowed in the top of the second when the first two Goldpanner batters struck gold after a combination of a single, a double and another single sandwiched around a ground out and a fly to right. Johnson ended the threat with a strikeout of the number-two hitter in the Fairbanks lineup.

The 2-2 tie was broken up in the bottom of the second when short- stop Stephen Ventimilia, batting in the number-nine spot, singled, was moved to second, stole third and scored on a Radack double. Leadoff man Covello, who had singled to get Ventimilia 90 feet farther along, also scored on the Radack hit.

Although the rain shower came down in earnest to start the third, Johnson faced only three batters, sending them all back to the bench. The first batter was retired on a grounder to Ryan Shackelford at first, the second Panner to the plate was given a full-count free pass only to be gunned down by catcher Zach Harbison a couple of pitches into a 12 pitch at-bat for Fair- banks first-sacker Nolan Meadows. The long-hanging inning ended with Meadows flying out to Jake Murray in left.

Johnson sailed along in great shape through three more innings, mix- ing his pitches well and effectively using a soft curve in both the fifth and sixth frames. He was relieved in the top of the seventh by Devin Stanton.

Chinooks fans dug out the antacids in the top of the eighth when with two out and two Panners on base, a hard shot to third got through the legs of Shackelford. Gum’s throw to the plate from deep in right was a little up- stream and the toss back to the pitcher was not in time to nail the trailing run- ner. Unfazed and doubly determined, Stanton struck out the next batter on three straight pitches.

Leading off in the bottom of the eighth, Gum drew a walk after working into a full count, was sacrificed to second by Murphy, could not ad- vance on a ground out to second, but motored home on a shot into right field by Ventimilia.

The first Fairbanks batter of the top of the ninth singled and stole second safely, but Stanton came through splendidly. He got the next batter with three straight curves, got the next Panner to fly out to second and the fourth batter of the inning flew out to center after driving his second pitch to Radack. Game over. Chinooks won.

Stanton was mobbed when he headed back to the dugout as the entire team erupted from the enclosure to celebrate their fourth league win. Overall they have seven, but three of those count for naught in the standings.

Fairbanks used five pitchers in eight innings. Stanton picked up the win after Johnson’s masterful pitching left him with no decision.

The Goldpanners out-hit the Chinooks, but as the Chugiak-Eagle River nine had found out so many times this season, it’s the number of runs that come across the plate that counts.

Tomorrow night’s game is sponsored by Jitters and starts at 7 p.m.

The Chinooks go on the road to Fairbanks starting Tuesday for three games with the Goldpanners, have a day off, visit the Miners for two days, have another day off, then return home.

Their next home game after tomorrow will be July 16 at 6 p.m.

Cover Photo by Al Clemens 

Chinooks Return Home For Rare Three Game Stand, Drop Opener To Miners 10-5

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

Taking a cue from the Peninsula Oilers in the previous four games, the Chinooks tried a bottom-of-the-ninth rally tonight, only to see it fall short. The game ended 8-5, the Mat-Su Miners on top.

A harbinger of things to come was seen just as the home team was be- ing introduced when the PA system went silent. No national anthem, no introduction of players, no chants of “that foul ball was sponsored by…” The latter deficiency was negated, however, when the fans took it upon them- selves to insert in proper order the names of the Edward Jones Financial Advisors who put iup the money to buy the season’s supply of horsehide- covered spheres.

The game started with a Mat-Su run when third baseman Spencer Ma- honey doubled then scored on a single by the number three batter after the second batter was thrown out at first by Drew Turbin. The tallier of the first tally was promptly thrown out by Chinooks catcher Daniel Salters as he attempted to steal second off starting pitcher Max Bruckner.

Usually coming in from the bullpen, Bruckner was called upon to start due to the high number of games over a short period of time. The visiting team had the same problem, calling on reliever Tyler Martin to begin the game.

The home crowd found something about which to cheer in the bottom of the third when the Chinooks’ leading hittrs Drew Turbin and Collin Radack made it safely and scored. The Miners tied it in the top of the fourth and saw the home team take the lead in the bottom half.

Chinooks Chatter


Volume II, Games 21-25 July 6, 2013

Although the rain that had bedeviled the players in Kenai held off, the

spirits of the Chugiak-Eagle River faithful were dampened in the sixth when the visitors once more tied the score, then regained the lead in the sixth. Three walks and as many singles in the top of the ninth, though, spread icing on the cake for the visitors.

Hope sprang in the bottom of the frame when the Palmer team sent in a sidearm slinger who himself found trouble finding the plate. Jake Murray walked, Griffin Gum grounded out to second and Griffin Roark reached. Both fish came in to score. Helped by a couple of calls from the men in blue who the home fans felt had less clear views of the action than did those in the bleachers, the Miners shut down the rally three runs short of extra in- nings.

A note of interest is that Hunter Totemeier, the 6’4” right-handed pitch- er who joined the team right after graduating from high school, turned out to be an electronic magician who climbed to the roof of the press box where he found a blown fuse in one of the loudspeakers. Finding a replacement and using a screwdriver provided by a newly arrived Ft. Richardson service member watching the game, he was able to get the sound back, but only temporarily. Coming to bat in the sound remedy arena earlier had been Booster Club member Al Clemens who made a quick trip home to bring back his own portable sound system which regrettably lacked sufficient volume to get Dave Stroh’s witticisms very far out of the box.

Tomorrow’s game is at 5 p.m. It is a special event sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze which will honor the many decades of service to the community by long-time Birchwood residents Cliff and Dorothy Gilmore.

The Monday night game, sponsored by Jitters, will mark the longest home stand for the Chinooks in the season—three straight games. Fans are looking forward to a filled calendar at Loretta French Park later this month.

As of tonight, the Chinooks have suffered 17 losses while winning only a trio of league game. Overall, they are 6 and 17. Most of the games have been much closer than the standings would reflect. But, as pundits are often heard to say, “Close only counts in horseshoes…or slow dancing.”

The other five teams are fairly tightly packed and their positions for the season are a long way from being decided. In first place tonight are the Fair- banks Goldpanners at 10-5—six games shy, though, of the number of games played by the Mners and the Anchoerage Glacier Pilots who each have 21 games under their belts. The Anchorage Bucs are 12-8 the Peninsula Oilers 10-7, the Miners 12-9, and the Pilots 10-11. Only the Pilots and the Chinooks are under .500.

Photo by Al Clemens

Chugiak-Eagle River Falls In Walk-Off Fashion To End Classic Independence Day Contest

Recap and photo provided by Jason Patterson

The Chinooks experienced the heartbreak of a walk-off defeat for the second time in three nights on the Peninsula. This one came at the end of a classic extra inning dose of our national pastime on Independence Day. The game ended in an instant, leaving but one lingering question for  fish fans, when will the Chinooks finally be set free from the seemingly endless cycle of heart-wrenching losses that have marked the first half of the 2013 Season.

The pitching was solid once again on Thursday night, with Dirks, Stanton and Kalusmeier allowing only two total runs and pushing the game into the 11th inning in hopes of an offensive breakthrough that never came. The ‘Nooks had chances early, including a bases loaded no-one-out opportunity in the first inning. The Oilers escaped the monster jam allowing only a single run via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tyler Krahn. Chugiak-Eagle River would not score again.

The Peninsula Oilers answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth, which came without the ball leaving the infield. Their eleventh inning rally also began with an infield single. The winning run moved to second on a passed ball. He reached third on a ground ball to short. This set the table for David Olmeda-Barrerra’s walk off line drive over the heads of a drawn in outfield to seal the Oilers third consecutive victory over the Chinooks.

The same two teams will be back in action Friday night at 7PM.


‘Nooks Shutout Despite Stellar Outing From Mike Jeffreys, Set For Game 3 vs Oilers Thursday Night

The Chinooks were shutout 2-0 by the Peninsula Oilers in Game 2 of the mid-week series at Kenai. Mike Jeffreys was solid once again in 7 innings of work. Unfortunately for Chugiak-Eagle River, the opposing pitcher, AJ Quintero, was just as strong. In the end, with runs coming at a premium, a single and a triple put together by the Oilers in the bottom of the 7th inning proved to be the difference in the ballgame.

The same two clubs will be back in action for a 4th of July contest Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7pm.

Oilers Stun Fish With Walk-Off Come From Behind 9th Inning Victory In 1st of 4 Straight On Peninsula

Blue was not a good color for the Chinooks as they lost another close one, this time to the Peninsula Oilers in Kenai.

Blue were the jerseys of the visitors from Chugiak-Eagle River. Blue were the faces of some of the players from warmer climes who shivered in temperatures flirt- ing with 50 degrees and a light sea breeze stirring the air. And blue were the fish fans as they saw things go from high to low in the bottom of the ninth.

It was a pitching game for starters from both teams, with Asa Johnson on the mound for the Chinooks and Logan McAnallen hurling for the Oilers. Johnson was the first to suffer when in the bottom of the fourth number nine-hole hitter Taylor Tempel doubled into left then was sacrificed to third. He scored on a one-ball pitch poked safely by Jake Alvarez.

Johnson was relieved in the bottom of the fifth with two on and two out. Devin Stanton came on in relief and made short work of the Oiler threat, getting the strike- out on a two-two pitch. He gained another red star in the very next inning after striking out the first batter he faced, giving up a single to the second hitter, then im- mediately erasing the side by snaring a comebacker, firing the ball to second- baseman Griffin Roark who threw a strike to Tyler Krahn at first.

The Chinooks still down 1-0 to open the eighth, Krahn doubled to right with one out. After the next batter flew out to center, it seemed that still another inning would end with runners left on base. That thought did not occur to catcher Daniel Salters, however. After taking a pitch down low, he jumped on a strike from Oilers reliever Michael Coates and sent it sailing over the right field fence at Coral Sey- mour Park.

Andrew Klausmeier took the hill to face the hometown team in the top of the eighth. Despite two batters making it on base via a single and a walk, he sat the last two men down with no damage done.

The top of the ninth was unproductive as the Chinooks were sent back to the bench, one, two three. With a 2-1 lead, only three outs were needed in the home half of the frame to preserve the win. Alas, it was not to be.

Lance Phillips was called in to close, but the bottom fell out. The first hitter up, the eight-hole hitter, doubled, the next batter walked and the Oilers’ lead-off man singled to load the bases. There was hope when Salters corralled a popup behind the plate in an effort to preserve his winning RBI. That hope was dashed, though, when the Peninsula team’s designated hitter walked to score the run that tied it up. The Oilers walked off victors when the second pitch to their catcher was driven into right field with the bases loaded. It ended 3-2, Oilers.

This was the first of a four game set on the Peninsula. The next three will all be at 7 p.m. The fish return home on Saturday to take on the Mat-Su Miners at 7 p.m.

Chugiak-Eagle River’s Late Rally Comes Up Short In Final Matchup With Glacier Pilots

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The Chinooks were on top, 1-0, early tonight in their last regular-season meet- ing with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. The lead lasted until the top of the sixth when the Pilots put seven runs on the board. Two more for the visitors came across in the top of the ninth, putting the home team in a 9-1 hole as the home team found itself with only three outs left.

With a comfortable lead, the Pilots sent a relief pitcher to the mound. When he found trouble hitting the strike zone and loaded the bases with three straight free passes, the home crowd began to get excited.

Griffin Gum, Zach Harbison and Steve Ventimilia had filled the bases when yet another pitcher was hastily brought in to stop the bleeding. He, too, had little luck against the fired-up fish. Nick Covello singled to bring Gum and Harbison home, followed by Drew Turbin’s double which cleared the bases.

The Pilots were able to get their first out when Turbin attempted to take third when the ball skipped away from Pilot catcher Chris Hoo. A strong throw to third nipped the sliding Turbin.

Walks to Collin Radack and Daniel Salter brought to the mound the third pitcher in the ninth frame. Brendan McCurray then struck out the eighth and ninth Chinooks batters of the inning to close out the game, leaving two runners on base and four runs short of knotting the score.

It was an exciting finish, one that only slightly dampened the spirits of the Chi- nooks faithful who stayed to the end to cheer on their hometown favorites. The Chi- nooks remain three and 12 while the Pilots improve to .500 at seven and seven.

Chinooks followers who are unable to make the trip to Kenai can listen to the play-by-play by Jason Patterson by clicking on the Teamline Listen Live button on

The Chinooks have their fourth day off in eight days tomorrow, before taking the field on Tuesday in Kenai against the Peninsula Oilers. They return home on Saturday to host the Mat-Su Miners who are see-sawing with the Anchorage Bucs for the Alaska Baseball League lead.

Cover Photo Provided By Al Clemens

‘Nooks WIN Back to Back Games On The Road, Defeating First Place Bucs 3-2 Saturday In Anchorage

Game Recap By Lee Jordan

There was joy in Chugiak-Eagle River tonight as the cellar-dwelling Chinooks edged the league-leading Anchorage Bucs, 3-2, at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Gritty play on the turf backed up the “We’re on our way” message given after the 17-2 drubbing of the Glacier Pilots there on Thursday night. The message was not exactly clear, however, until the last pitch was thrown in the bottom of the ninth.

Getting the well-deserved win tonight was Caleb Dirks, a returning pitcher from the 2012 Chinooks team. He went through five innings, giving up one run on only a couple of hits while striking out four and walking three.

With the lead-off batter flying out to center to start the game, third-baseman Drew Turbin, another second-year player, earned a walk, was moved to second and then to third, coming in to score on a single by first-sacker Tyler Krahn.

The Bucs put their lead-off hitter on with a single, then saw him driven in on a single by the number three batter, their designated hitter.

The score remained knotted at one-all as Dirks and the Bucs’ ace, 6’6″ Garrett Mundell, mowed down opposing batters. Until the top of the fifth, that is. That’s when Chinooks left-fielder Jake Murray, batting in the number-eight hole, surprised the home team with a perfectly placed bunt and ran it out safely. He was sacrificed to second by shortstop Steve Ventimilia and then scored on a single by second- baseman Nick Covello. Covello in turn scored on a single by Turbin. Turbin’s hit marked the end of the line for the Bucs’ starter.

It was a defensive gem for both sides. Dirks was pulled after five and reliever Devin Stanton came on to quickly retire the side in both the sixth and seventh frames. Things got hairy for the Chinooks, though, with one out in the bottom of the seventh. The number-nine Bucs batter was plunked by an errant pitch. Another one in the dirt got past catcher Daniel Salters and rolled all the way to the backstop, which at Mulcahy is a bit farther back than at other ABL fields. The victimized hit- ter saw the opportunity to gain 180 feet on the fish. He did not, however, reckon on the determination of the visitors that carried over from their big win two days ear- lier. Salters stretched his long legs, snared the errant sphere and fired a strike to Tur- bin, nailing the runner at third. The play earned a red star in the scorebook.

Still unsettled in the bottom of the eighth and with visions of two walk-off heartbreakers earlier in the young season, a chill went through the fans on the first- base side where the red jerseys were seated. Skies were cloudy and the temperature had fallen from the record highs set over the previous two weeks. The mid-60s read- ing and light breeze cut through to the bone.

The Bucs’ number-two hitter led off with a single. He moved to second on a fielder’s choice, then found himself on third after an error and a walk, coming around to score on another error–the only two made in the game by the Chinooks. Lance Phillips, who had taken over from Stanton in the seventh, got the inning’s seventh batter to fly out to deep center where Collin Radack hauled it in for the third out.

Nerves were still frayed in the ninth when a pinch-hitter for the number-nine- hole Buc was struck out by Phillips, only to have the next batter walk on four straight pitches. That was it. Determination took over. Phillips got the second out on a pop-up to short and struck out the number-three hitter, whose batting average was well over 400, on three pitches.

The joy at the ballpark was felt all the way to Chugiak and beyond–even to the home of the Mat-Su Miners who had a vested interest in the outcome of the game at Mulcahy.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the Chinooks host the Glacier Pilots in the final regular- season meeting of those two teams this year. Unable to win the seven-game series, the fish hope to make it three and four. Game time is 5 p.m.

Jeffreys Solid Start, Offensive Explosion Power Fish To Second Victory At Mulcahy Park 17-2

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

Redoubling the determination shown in Tuesday’s heartbreaking bottom-of-the- ninth loss to the Mat-Su Miners, the Chinooks sent a message to the rest of the Alaska Baseball League tonight.

Their message: “You’ve had your head start. Now we’re on our way, so watch out!”

Ignited by Griffin Gum’s two-run homer that skimmed the left field foul pole, the entire Chugiak-Eagle River team’s bats came alive. All nine in the lineup scored, with Collin Radack and Daniel Arthur each collecting three while Griffin Roark, Tyler Krahn, Ryan Shackelford and Jake Murray each had a pair. Drew Tur- bin and Daniel Salters had one each.

Add them up: It comes to 17 on the visitor side of the scoreboard.

While nine players wielded the lumber, the one player not included in that list turned in a performance that equaled their combined heroics.

Starting pitcher Mike Jeffreys neared perfection for the first eight innings and made a bid for a complete game victory in going eight and two-thirds innings. One of four players returning from last year’s inaugural Chinooks season, Jeffreys as a freshman at Geneva College led the ABL in strikeouts with 49 K’s. He picked up eight tonight while giving up but three hits and walking only one through eight.

The right-hander wanted to go all the way but after three hits, one of them a blooper into right, and a walk he was lifted by GM Chris Beck with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Lance Phillips came in to face the seventh batter of the frame and promptly retired him.

The visitor side of the scorebook resembled a checkerboard with multiple filled- in diamonds in all but four of the nine columns.

Head Coach Jon Groth shuffled the batting order for tonight’s game to create a formula that worked well. Leading off was Roark at shortstop, followed by Turbin at third, Radack in center, Krahn at first base and hitting cleanup, Shackelford at second, Salters behind the plate, Arthur inserted as designated hitter, Gum in right field and number-nine batter Jake Murray who was in left.

Those defensive positions earned mention because each proved to be valuable in helping Jeffreys gain the impressive victory.

The win was long overdue—only the second since June 16 when these same Pilots were downed in a 14-inning marathon that saw the Chinooks go ahead in the top of the 14th and then hold the Pilots at bay in the bottom half.

Tonight’s game with the team named after real-life Glacier Pilot Bob Reeve was the sixth in a seven-game series—all played in June. The seventh game comes up Sunday at Loretta French Park. First pitch in the game sponsored by The Alaska Club is at 5 p.m.

Photo Credit, Al Clemens

Chinook Heartbreaker In Mat-Su Valley, Miners Walk-Off With Victory On Military Appreciation Night

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The Chinooks’ bats have come alive and the team traveled to Palmer tonight filled with determination to turn things around. They out-hit the Miners throughout the game, but a big bottom of the third temporarily made the outlook dim. The fish refused to give up and tied the game at four-all, only to see their hopes dashed in the bottom of the ninth. An over-anxious double-play attempt let the winning run cross.

Despite the outcome, the game was a thriller that kept the faithful on both side on the edge of their seats until that last play was made.

The fish were running in the top of the first. Number two hitter Drew Turbin singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Collin Radack dou- bled. Radack then scored on Tyler Krah’s double to put the Chinooks up by two.

A third run came in the top of the second when Stephen Ventimila walked, stole second and scored on a single by Turbin. The fish threatened in the third but left two men on when the third out was recorded.

Asa Johnson, switched from the bullpen to the rotation in the flu-ravaged early stages of the season, did an outstanding job for the Chinooks. He gave up but one hit in the bottom of the first, then sat the side down in the second.

It was a different story in the third, though, when a single, a hit batsman, and then a bunt that turned a sacrifice into a single loaded the bases. A walk brought in Mat-Su’s first run; then a single to right made it 4-3.

Johnson pulled himself together after the onslaught, getting three straight outs to get his team back on the bench. Only one Miner got on base in the next three in- nings, that one benefitting from an infield error.

Each starter came out after six innings, the Miners at that point ahead 4-3. Devin Stanton took over for Johnson and Patrick Kenney relieved Miner Trevor Bettencourt. Bettencourt gave up a double to Chinook second-sacker Griffin Roark who then was sacrificed to third by Turbin and scored on a shot to second by Radack to tie the game.

It remained there until Stanton gave up a mistake to the leadoff hitter in the sev- enth, letting him reach on a single to left. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to scor- ing position. The threat was erased, however, when catcher Zach Harbison threw out the runner as he attempted to steal third. A grounder to Ventimilia ended the inning.

Stanton walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth, then was called for a balk. Un- fazed even though that runner made it as far as third on a passed ball, he got the next three batters out to preserve the tie.

Chinook fans were encouraged when Tyler Krahn singled with two out in the top of the ninth, but Drew Smith, who ended up getting the win for the Miners, struck out the next batter.

The heartbreak happened quickly in the last frame as the number six Mat-Su batter singled. The next batter drove the ball to third, making Turbin hopeful that he could cut down the lead batter and set up a double play. The high throw ended that hope and left the Miner fans ecstatic.

It was another beautiful night for baseball, completely opposite of last season when rain and cold made the first part of the season miserable. The Palmer team was outfitted in camo jerseys in honor of military appreciation night. The Palmer High School band entertained with stirring marches during the game.

The Chinooks do not have a game tomorrow, travel to Mulcahy for a 7 p.m. game with the Glacier Pilots, are off on Friday and return to Mulcahy to play the Bucs on Saturday at 4 p.m.

They will be at home again on Sunday at 5 p.m. to host the Pilots in the final matchup of these two teams in the regular season.

Photo provided by Al Clemens