Fish Fall 5-4 to Pilots to Close Out Month of June

Box Score ANCHORAGE – The Chinooks looked like they would close the month of June with a victory over the Glacier Pilots on Sunday afternoon at Mulcahy Field, but the home team obviously had other plans with a 5-4 walk off win.

Chugiak-Eagle River held the lead from the third inning until the final play of the ball game.  In that third inning, Billy Arendt led off the inning with a triple and came home for the first run of the game on a Steve Karkenny double.  Karkenny came home on a pair of miscues by Pilots pitcher, Dylan Nelson.  A pickoff attempt ended up in center field which allowed Karkenny to advance to third base followed by a wild pitch that brought the second run of the inning home for the Chinooks.

Aside from his RBI double in the third, Karkenny also tripled in the first and fifth innings.  He would score in the fifth on a groundout by Jackson Cramer to make it 4-0 in favor of the Fish.  Steven Pollex and Kyle Conkle would also add two hits apiece over the course of the afternoon for the guest at Mulcahy.

Despite the four runs allowed by Nelson, the Pilots hurler ended his day after the fifth inning with nine strikeouts.  Cameron Pongs relieved Nelson in the sixth inning and would proceed to hold the ‘Nooks offense in check with four scoreless innings in route to the winning decision.  The two pitchers for the Pilots would hold the Chinooks to just one base hit out of eight opportunities with runners in scoring position (that was the before mentioned double by Karkenny).  This has been one category that has plagued the Chinooks over their now six game losing streak.

The Chinooks pitching tandem of Michael Fairchild and Shane Armstrong hurled eight strong inning to rival the Nelson and Pongs duo.  Despite 11 Pilot base hits and six walks combined, they were able to wiggle in and out of jams the entire contest.  The Pilots had bases loaded situations in the second inning and again in the fifth with no outs that would force the Chinooks to make the move to the bullpen and call upon Armstrong in relief of Fairchild.

The first batter Armstrong faced resulted in one of the strangest double plays anyone could see.  Trevor Podratz hit a line drive over the Chinooks left fielder Bret Collins that allowed Justin Protacio to score the first run for the Pilots, but Chester Pak slipped on the turf trying to score from second.  This caused a log jam at third base as Pak retreated, but Kevin Viers was at the same base as Chinooks catcher Geoff Murphy walked the throw to the plate back to third base where both runners stood.  Murphy proceeded to tag the lead runner Pak, but Viers left third base in an attempt to get away from the tag as well.  He then was caught in another run down for the second out on the play.  Armstrong would then strike out the next batter to get out of the inning.

Apart from another run in the sixth, relievers Armstrong and Pongs were in command of the game on the hill for their teams.  The bottom of the ninth would see the Pilots load the bases for the third time of the game on two walks and a hit-by-pitch from Armstrong.  The ‘Nooks then called upon Zach Freeman to get out of the jam.

Viers singled the first pitch out of the right hand of Freeman to make it a 4-3 score.  Then it was Podratz at the plate again for the Pilots.  With the infield drawn in to make the force-out at home plate, Podratz rolled over on an 0-2 pitch from Freeman to the Chinooks shortstop, Josh Altmann.  Altmann fielded it cleanly, but made a wide throw to the catcher Murphy at home allowing the runner to score easily and allow Pak to redeem himself on his earlier base running blunder as he came home to score the winning run for the Glacier Pilots.

The Chinooks are now 2-5 head-to-head with the Pilots.  Four of the five losses have come in the final at-bats, and four out of five have come by a combined five runs.

Through 18 games in the month of June, the Chinooks take a 4-14 record on the road Tuesday to Kenai to square off against the Peninsula Oilers on July 1.

Miners’ Offense Explodes to Rout Chinooks 14-3

CHUGIAK - Just one day after a pitcher’s duel with the Mat-Su Miners, the Chinooks fell in a blowout 14-3 loss at the hands of the same squad. The Chinooks have now suffered five straight losses and stand at 4-13 on the summer, while the Miners remain in first place in the ABL’s National League with a 12-4 record.

Mat-Su scored early and often against the Fish on Saturday, crossing the plate in six different innings. Right hander Jon Ferrendelli pitched 6.2 innings and allowed just one earned run before Jonathan Reid and Josh Morris combined to pitch the final 2.1 frames. With the victory, Ferrendelli now stands at 3-0 on the campaign.

Thomas Altimont (Abilene Christian) was on the wrong end of things for the Fish, surrendering six earned runs over the game’s first five innings. Steven Wagar (Puget Sound) was the first man out of the bullpen, and the Miners didn’t miss a beat offensively, as Cam Newell launched a grand slam that put the Chinooks away for good. Lance Phillips (Arkansas) gave up just one earned run over his two innings before Zach Freeman (New Mexico State) pitched a scoreless ninth.

At the plate, Newell’s grand slam highlighted the offensive outburst for the Miners, while Billy Arendt (Princeton) paced the Chinooks. Arendt went 2-4 with a single, a double and two RBI, while shortstop Josh Altmann (Olivet Nazarene) was the only other Fish hitter to record an extra base hit.

Mat-Su will put their five game win streak on the line on Sunday when they host the Peninsula Oilers in a doubleheader at Hermon Brothers field. The Chinooks will travel to Anchorage to take on the Glacier Pilots in an effort to snap a five game skid. First pitch from Mulcahy Field is set for 4:00 pm.





Chinooks on the short end of a Pitcher’s Duel at Loretta French

Box Score CHUGIAK – Friday night’s starting pitchers would combine on 13 innings, only allowing seven hits and 3 runs as the Matsu Miners outlasted the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks with a 4-1 final score.

The Miners would get the first run of the ballgame in the 2nd inning off of ‘Nooks starter Kyle McDorman would deliver a wild pitch that allowed Nick Senzel to scamper home for the visitors. However, McDorman would be sharp through seven innings without allowing a walk and sitting down the Miners in order in innings number four, six, and seven.

His counterpart, Ryan Hendrix, kept the Chinooks offense in check the entire six innings he spent on the hill for the Miners. Hendrix struck out four and walked two in route to his first winning decision of the 2014 campaign. His lone blemish came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Steve Pollex punished his third home run of the year over the right-center field fence.

Mitchell Nau was quick to answer Pollex’s bomb when the Miners catcher led off the very next inning with a solo homer of his own to make give the Miners a 2-1 lead. Matsu would not relinquish the lead after that, and that at bat would be the deciding factor that made Kyle McDorman the tough-luck loser on the pitchers mound.

In the eighth inning, the Chinooks turned to Tim Knesnik in his first appearance of the season for the Fish. Cameron Frost and Paul Panaccione would welcome him to the Alaska Baseball League with back-to-back doubles to add a third run on the scoreboard for the Miners. Senzel added a fourth run for the Miners with a solo home run in the top of the ninth.

A pivotal situation in the ballgame came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Looking to tie the game again was Pollex with Jon Popadics standing on third base. An 0-2 pitch from Hendrix would go to the backstop and Popadics would come home for what was thought to be the tying run, but the play was called dead when the umpire revealed that the pitch hit the batter Pollex which forced Popadics back to his post at third base.

Popadics would be part of another offensive threat for the Chinooks in the eighth inning when he and Griffith Roark hit back-to-back singles. Popadics would force a pickoff throw from Miners reliever Hayden Howard that would trickle into left field and allow Popadics to third. However, Howard would shut the door on the ‘Nooks rally by striking out Steve Karkenny and Pollex to retire the side.

Inning number nine would prove to be too litte, too late for the Chinooks. Vince Arobio came to the mound for the Miners in search of his fourth save of the year when Jackson Cramer would get a two-out double past the diving attempt of Brandon Smith in left field followed by a walk by Geoff Murphy. Mark Lindsay would then fly out to close the ballgame.

The Chinooks fall to 4-12 on the season and the Miners improve to 11-4. The same two ball clubs will convene at Loretta French Park on Saturday night at 7 pm to wrap up the Healthy Alaskans Doubleheader.

Pilots Sweep Rainy Twin Bill over ‘Nooks

Box Score 1 Box Score 2 CHUGIAK – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks were swept by the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in a cold doubleheader on Thursday, falling 3-2 in the opener and 4-2 in the nightcap. The Pilots now own the season series between the two clubs, taking four of 2014’s six meetings against the Chinooks.

The first game was rescheduled after being rained out on Monday before being forced back another hour so the Chinooks could prepare Loretta French Field for game action. On a night when Chugiak High School celebrated their 50th anniversary at the park, the two teams played two seven-inning ballgames that provided another pair of close contests.

In one of the lowest scoring games of the year, North Alabama’s Kyle Conkle and Boston College’s Geoff Murphy each found a pair of base hits, while Steven Karkenny (The Master’s) was credited with the team’s only RBI. Trevor Podratz, Chester Pak, and Clayton Taylor each provided a hit for the visiting Glacier Pilots, but that proved to be enough offense to back the pitching staff.

On the hill, Anchorage turned to Drew Morovick lasted five innings, surrendering five base hits and two runs while issuing four walks and striking out two in his first victory of the summer. Fred Schlictholtz hurled a flawless sixth before Justin Dellinger closed the door in the seventh to pick up his first save of the ABL.

For the Chinooks, Dan Przenicny (Xavier) pitched 5.1 innings of one-hit baseball while allowing one earned run before giving way to the bullpen. Lance Phillips (Arkansas) recorded the final five outs, allowing two hits and fanning a pair.

The Fish got on the scoreboard first in Game Two, but the Pilots responded with a run in the third and another in the fourth. Chugiak-Eagle River managed to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, but it was short lived, as Anchorage plated the game’s final two runs in the final frame.

Steve Pollex sparked two base hits and now has hit safely in ten of his last eleven games, but just two other Chinooks were able reach first base safely. Jonathan Papodics (The Master’s) and Bret Collins (Vanguard) combined with Pollex to do all the damage in the nightcap, but the Fish still kept the game close.

Pak and Podratz again did the damage for the Pilots, combining for four base hits, an RBI and a run scored. Shaun Wood hauled in the final hit of the game for the visitors, and Anchorage held on for their second victory of the day.

Glacier Pilot starter Cameron Blanchard allowed five runs over his five innings before reliever Grant Gunning allowed two runs while recording just two outs. Dellinger came on in the bottom of the sixth when the Chinooks had the go-ahead run in scoring position, but he managed to wiggle his way out of the jam. When his offense got him two runs an inning later, Dellinger then became eligible for his first victory.

Cornerstone’s Ryan Harris received the starting nod for the Chinooks, hurling three innings and surrendering a lone unearned run. Shane Armstrong (Hillsdale) and Thomas Altimont (Abilene Christian) combined for the next three innings, allowing one run and issuing a total four strikeouts.

Zach Freeman (New Mexico State) was on the wrong end of the decision for the third time this year after surrendering two runs in the seventh. The Chinooks went down in order in the bottom half of the inning, giving Dellinger his first win just a few hours after picking up his first save.

The Chinooks will now turn their attention to the Mat-Su Miners, who will come calling on Friday and Saturday. Both games are slated for 7:00 pm start times from Loretta French Field.

Miners Have the ‘Nooks Number Again

Box Score PALMER – For the third straight ball game, the Matsu Miners found the win column Tuesday night with a 10-4 win over the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks at Herman Brothers Field.

A parade of extra-base hits in the early innings and a pair of home runs off Miners lumber ultimately did the Chinooks in.  Matt Decker doubled to left-center field to break a 1-1 tie in the third inning.

The Miners would not look back from there.  Nick Senzel would knock in Decker two batters later to make it a 3-1 game, and Nick Blaser would single home Senzel to score the fourth run of the game for Matsu.

The Chinooks would make a serious threat in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases against Miners starting pitcher, Kyle Serrano.  Jackson Cramer would walk in a run and would be the last batter before the Miners opted to bring in Ryan Oglesby in relief.  His first opponent would be Kyle Conkle, who would be hit by the first pitch to bring in a second run and making it a 4-3 game in favor of the Miners.

Michael Fairchild took the mound to start the game for the Chinooks and allowed the first four runs on seven base hits.  Shane Armstrong would follow with two scoreless innings and allowed one run in the sixth frame.  Jordan Rodgers singled to center bringing in Senzel who slid behind the tag at home on a ball thrown from Chinook center fielder, Steve Pollex.

In the seventh inning, Cameron Newell would launch a solo home run, his second in as many games against the Chinooks.  The score would become 8-3 just a few batters later when Senzel would hit a run-run blast, accumulating his third of three hits on the night.

Two more runs would come home for Matsu in the eighth inning with a tuple from Cameron Frost to drive in Rodgers followed by a Newell single.  Newell would record his sixth multi-hit game and better his second best batting average in the Alaska Baseball League.

The Chinooks would load the bases again in the ninth inning with a hit-by-pitch, walk, and a single by Steve Karkenny.  Cramer would groundout to bring a run home, but the Chinooks late rally would fall short with a 10-4 final score.

Fairchild took the loss for the Chinooks as the team falls to 4-9 overall on the 2014 season.  The win would be rewarded to Oglesby for his first win of the season with an inning and a third in scoreless relief for the Miners, who remain in first place in the National League of the ABL at 10-4.

Chugiak’s Loretta French Park will be the location of the next contest for the Chinooks.  After an off day on Wednesday, the Chinooks will play a doubleheader on Thursday with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to make up Tuesday’s rain out.  The first game gets underway at 4 pm.

Fish Sink Pilots in Summer Solstice Showdown at Mulcahy


Box Scoremulcahy ANCHORAGE – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks defeated the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 8-5 in a thriller at Mulcahy Field on Saturday night, improving to 4-8 overall in 2014. With the loss, the Pilots dropped out of first place in the ABL’s National League and now stand at 7-5.

On Friday, it was the Chinooks that struck first with a big inning but ultimately fell thanks to a walk off sac fly by Ray Guerrini. On Saturday, however, with the same two teams at the same field, the roles couldn’t be more reversed.

The home team got the scoring started early, taking advantage of a catcher’s obstruction call and a close payoff pitch that missed just out of the zone. Anchorage carried a 4-0 lead into the second inning after left fielder Shaun Wood launched a bases-loaded double off the Chinooks’ starter. Kyle McDorman (Charleston Southern) settled down after the first frame, surrendering just one more run on a solo blast by Clayton Taylor in the sixth inning.

McDorman’s day ended after six innings, four hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and a 5-0 deficit, but that was only the beginning for the Fish. Tell Taylor (Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Ryan Harris (Cornerstone), and Steven Wagar (Puget Sound) each hurled a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, combining for six strikeouts and zero walks.

The eighth inning saw the Chinook offense come to life for the first time of the contest, as four runs came across to score. Mark Lindsay (San Francisco State) was hit by a pitch to open the frame before West Virginia’s Jackson Cramer followed with a single. Billy Arendt (Princeton) then reached on a fielder’s choice, and Olivet Nazarene shortstop Josh Altmann walked to load the bases. Griffith Roark (Oklahoma State) laced a base hit to plate the first Chinook run, Geoff Murphy (Boston College) sparked an RBI groundout, and Westmont’s Steven Pollex hit a two run double.

It only seemed fitting that the Chinooks and Glacier Pilots would end up deciding things in the ninth inning, but Chugiak-Eagle River made sure that Saturday night didn’t end up with the same result as the night before. With two outs in the final frame, Cramer clobbered a double over the head of Chester Pak in center. Arendt followed with a double of his own to score the tying run, and Altmann was hit by a pitch that forced a pitching change. Roark recorded another base hit, and two errors helped give the Chinooks their second consecutive four-run inning.

When the Chinooks tied the game in the ninth, Pilot starter John York was suddenly no longer eligible for the victory after making easy work of the Fish through the game’s first five innings. Max Karnos struck out two over the next two frames, but Kyle Bovy surrendered the first four runs that allowed the Chinooks the momentum to claw their way back. Once Taylor Kaczmarek went from a save situation to a blown save, Cameron Pongs was called on for the final out.

Wagar was able to hold on for the Chinooks’ first save of the year, as Harris picked up his first victory in the Alaska Baseball League. Taylor Kaczmarek was hit with a blown save and a loss for the Glacier Pilots, but the Summer Solstice Showdown proved to be filled with excitement until the game’s final pitch. Overall, the Chinooks posted ten hits, highlighted by Roark’s three, while Cramer and Bret Collins (Vangaurd) each finished with a multi-hit game, as well. Wood was the only Pilot with more than one base hit, and he also drove in three of the team’s five runs.

The Anchorage Glacier Pilots will now head to Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer on Sunday to take on the new division-leading Mat-Su Miners. The Chinooks have the day off on Sunday before hosting the Pilots at Loretta French at 7:00 on Monday evening.



Five-run 1st Inning not enough for Chinooks to stop losing skid

Box Score ANCHORAGE – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks put up five runs in the opening frame of action against the Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Field on Friday night, but the home team would come back to win in walk-off fashion.

It was the second contest between the two squads over the course of three days.  The Chinooks were coming off of their first off day of the season while the Pilots suffered a tough loss to the Mat-su Miners the night before.  It was a back-and-forth affair between the two squads back on Wednesday, and their latest matchup followed the same script.  However, this time around the Chinooks had their skipper, Jon Groth, back at the helm who returned to Alaska following minor surgery.

Chinooks’ center fielder Steven Pollox led off the ballgame with his second home run on the season that landed beyond the left field wall.  Jackson Cramer of West Virginia would tack on three more runs for the visitors with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to the alley in left-center field.  Cramer would eventually score on a groundout by Josh Altmann (Olivet Nazarene Univ.) that would make it a 5-run first for the Fish.

The Pilots eventually struck back with 6 runs of their over a span of four innings.  Two rans came across in the bottom of the 1st inning.  With two outs in the 3rd, the Pilots’ Shawn Wood would lace a triple to dead center field that brought home two runners, and Collin Theroux would double Wood home to tie the game at 5.

The Pilots would take their first lead of the game in next inning that started with a single from Justin Protacio, and then forcing Chinooks’ starter Dan Przeniczny from the ballgame.  Shane Armstrong of Hillsdale College would come to the mound and had the go ahead run pass while he was on the hill.  Since Przeniczny was responsible for the runner Protacio, the earned run was charged to the pitcher from Xavier.

His offense would get him off the hook for a losing decision when the ‘Nooks struck for a run in the 5th and 6th innings to take a 7-6 lead.  On the other side of the card, Armstrong would toss three scoreless innings before Nikko Saenz would strike again against the Chinooks with his second home run in as many games versus Chugiak-Eagle River.  This time it was a solo shot to tie things up for the third time in the contest after 7 innings.

Lance Phillips would throw a scoreless 8th for the Chinooks, and Zach Freeman took the ball for the Fish in the 9th.  With one out, Saenz would start the offense for the Pilots again with a single, Nate Nolan then doubled putting runners at second and third, forcing Freeman to intentionally walk Wood to put the double play into effect.

For the second straight game, the Pilots called upon a pinch hitter to become the hero off of Freeman.  This time it was Ray Guerrini who lifted an 0-2 pitch into deep left field, deep enough to score Saenz from third base and award the Pilots a walk-off win.

Chandler Blanchard picked up the winning decision and Zach Freeman would take the loss moving his record to 1-2.  All three of his decisions have come in games against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.  The Chinooks have now lost 4 straight ballgames, two in a row to the Pilots, and now have a 3-8 record overall.

The same two teams will tangle at Mulcahy Field on Saturday night in the Summer Solstice Showdown.  First pitch is tabbed for 10 pm AKDT.


Pilots defeat Chinooks 11-6 on Military Appreciation Night

IMG_0485Box Score CHUGIAK – With a small army of active and former members of the U.S. Military on hand, the Chinooks fell to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots by a final of 11-6 on Wednesday at Loretta French Field. The Fish have now lost three in a row and stand at 1-5 in Alaska Baseball League action, while the Pilots’ 4-2 record in league play is tops in the National League.

More than 20 veterans from WWII, Vietnam, and Desert Storm lined up with the Chinooks on the third base side of the field, providing the Fish with the opportunity to thank them for their service. Each military branch was represented, and the Alaska Military Youth Academy took up half a section in the third base bleachers. A glorious National Anthem was performed, and Brigadier General Catherine Jorgensen hurled a perfect first pitch. The stage was set for an exciting night of baseball, and the two teams on the field would not disappoint.

Azusa Pacific’s Michael Fairchild got the starting nod for the Chinooks and responded by giving his club the chance to strike first after setting down the Pilots in order in the opening frame. Chugiak-Eagle River did just that, as Notre Dame’s James Nevant laced a triple to right center before Bret Collins (Vanguard) brought him in to give the home team their only lead of the game.

The 1-0 score wouldn’t hold for long, as Anchorage responded with a run of their own in the second inning. The ‘Nooks got another hit from Collins in the fourth, and after a sac bunt and a deep flyout to right, Princeton’s Billy Arendt drove him in with the second single of the inning. The fifth saw the Glacier Pilots respond in a big way, as outfielder Chester Pak stroked a bases-loaded triple before scoring four pitches later.

The home half of the fifth continued to keep those in attendance on the edge of their seats, as AJ Derr (Point Loma Nazarene), Griffith Roark (Oklahoma State) and Nevant each found ways to score. Each team plated a run in the eighth, and it was clear that the battle between the two clubs would not be easily won for either party.

Anchorage finally had enough of the back-and-forth, however, as five runs crossed the plate in the top half of the final frame. Highlighting the late inning effort was Nikko Saenz, who launched a pinch-hit three-run home run. Zach Freeman (New Mexico State) was on the wrong end of the Pilots’ big ninth, and the right hander was hit with his first loss of the summer. Fairchild allowed five runs over four innings before turning things over to Shane Armstrong (Hillsdale) and ultimately Freeman.

Nevant, Collins, and Cornerstone University’s Nick Covello combined for seven hits and four RBI for the home nine, while Pak’s four hit day and Saenz’ homer highlighted the effort for the visiting Glacier Pilots. The game featured 17 runs, 25 hits, and flawless defense, treating those that packed the park to a contest that easily lived up to its’ expectations.

Starter Dylan Nelson went 4.2 innings for the Pilots, surrendering five earned runs on six hits while striking out five and walking three. Taylor Kaczmarek and Tylor Megill combined for the next 2.2 frames before Cameron Pongs picked up the win for Anchorage after recording the final five outs of the game and benefitting from the offensive eruption.

Chugiak-Eagle River has their first scheduled off day of the summer on Thursday before returning to action on Friday against the Glacier Pilots in Anchorage. First pitch from Mulcahy Field is slated for 7:00 pm.

Errors plague the Chinooks early, fall to Miners at Home

Box Score CHUGIAK – On Tuesday night at Loretta French Park, the Chinooks fell 13-2 to the Mat-su Miners, who scored double digits for the second straight night.

The Chinooks offense managed to gather 12 hits off of three different Miners pitcher, but stranded 12 runners on the base paths.  Steve Pollex of Westmont College had his third consecutive multi-hit performance while Cornerstone University’s Nick Covello and Billy Arendt of Princeton each recorded three-hit nights.

It seems as if hits were plentiful, but that one big hit to get the offense going could not be found.  Much of this was due to crafty pitching by winning pitcher Jon Ferrendelli, Seve Romo, and Josh Grissom for the squad from Mat-su.

On a night that pushed the start of the game back nearly an hour, when it rained it certainly poured for the Miners at the plate.  They managed 13 runs and did so on 15 base hits.  However, four errors by the Chinooks in the first three frames helped set the table as Mat-su got out to an early 3-0 lead.

Inning number four would be considered the turning point of the game that put things out of reach early.  Miners catcher Mitchell Nau of Texas A&M delivered a one-out solo home run on a line drive to left field.  Just four batters later, Cam Newell yanked a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence to put the Miners ahead 7-0 at the time.

The Miners would fail to score only in second and fifth innings.  The ‘Nooks on the other hand would score in the sixth and ninth innings on a fielder’s choice ground out by Jackson Cramer and a single from Vanguard’s Bret Collins.

Mat-su moves to 5-3 overall on the season and will host the San Francisco Seals in Palmer, AK tomorrow night.  The Chinooks (3-6) turn their attention to another division foe in the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.  That game will be a 7 pm AKDT first pitch and it will be Military Appreciation Night at Loretta French Field.

Miners Offense Erupts, ‘Nooks Fall 15-6

PALMER – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks fell to the Mat-Su Miners for the first time in league action on Monday by a final score of 15-6. The Chinooks dropped to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in league play with the loss, while the Miners went to 4-3, including a 2-2 mark in the ABL.

Shane Armstrong received the starting nod for the Fish but would last just 1.1 innings against a powerful Miners offense. The Chinooks struck first on the scoreboard, but Mat-Su posted a six-run first before following with a five run-second. The Fish again attempted a rally in the ninth, posting two runs before being erased.

Chugiak-Eagle River cut into the lead a bit in the fifth, getting their final three runs of the contest. The Miners put their finishing touches on the victory in the sixth inning, as four crossed the plate to make it 15-4. Right hander Adam Oller pitched five innings for the home team and qualified for the victory before turning things over to the Miner bullpen.

At the plate, Westmont University’s Steven Pollex laced three singles, while fellow outfielder James Nevant (Notre Dame) and catcher Mark Lindsay (San Fransisco State) combined for five more hits. Nick Covello drove in the first run of the game for the third straight night and ended up with a single and a double. Six different Chinooks scored a run as the team racked up an even dozen hits in the loss.

The Fish and Miners return to action on Tuesday evening, when they will square off at Loretta French Field for the first time in league play. Matanuska Electric will sponsor Kids’ Night, and details can be found on the Chinooks’ website. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm.

Three-run 9th inning moves Chinooks past Pilots

Box Score ANCHORAGE – The Chinooks headed back to Mulcahy Field for the second day in a row, but this time came out on top 4-1 against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

This game would be a pitchers duel through and through. Kyle McDorman threw seven strong innings for Chugiak-Eagle River. Three of the six hits he would surrender came in the bottom of the second inning when the Pilots loaded the bases thanks to singles from Ray Guerrini, Clayton Taylor, and Trevor Podratz. McDorman would get Shaun Wood to bounce to first for a 3-2 double play. The second out came with a tag at home plate to keep the Pilots off the board.

The Pilots next threat would come during inning number four when Taylor and Podratz would get back-to-back singles with two outs. That would put runners at the corners for Wood, who dropped a single into shallow center to get the first run of the game home for Anchorage. McDorman would then send 10 straight batters back to the bench on the hill for the Chinooks.

John York received the starting nod for the Glacier Pilots and went a scoreless 4 and 1/3 innings before being lifted from a bases loaded jam. Anchorage native Max Karnos would get a double-play ball to get out of the inning with no damage done.

Karnos would continue to shut down the Chinooks offense, working with a 1-0 lead, until the top of the eighth inning. Bret Collins got aboard on a walk, then stole second base. Kyle Conkle grounded out to advance Collins to third. Nick Covello took a 2-0 pitch to deep center that would be caught, allowing Collins to come home to tie the game at two runs each.

Just one night after a walk-off grand slam shot down the Pilots, the last at-bat for their opponent would be their undoing yet again.

The ‘Nooks would get to Karnos again by scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning. AJ Derr led things off with a walk and went second to third on a single by Griffith Roark. The bases were loaded after a pitch from Karnos hit Steve Pollex. James Nevant smacked a 375-foot single over the head of Wood in center field. This only plated one run, but Collins would follow this up with a sac fly and Conkle would drive home a third run on an infield single that made the score 4-1 in favor of the visiting Chinooks.

Zach Freeman pitched the final two frames for the Chinooks and picked up the victory. The loss would go to Max Karnos.

The Chinooks (3-4 overall) will play their next two against the Mat-su Miners. Monday night will be in Palmer at Hermon Brothers Field and then back at Loretta French on Tuesday. Both games start at 7 pm. Glacier Pilots (4-3 overall) play their stadium-mates, the Bucs, on Monday at Mulcahy before seeing the ‘Nooks again on Wednesday.

Upcoming Events at Loretta French: June 15-21

Upcoming Events at Chinooks’ Games

Tuesday, June 17 VS Mat-Su Miners:

Kids’ Day sponsored by Matanuska Electric

  • ALL kids 12 and under can register for a bike giveaway FREE OF CHARGE
  • Two (2) bikes will be given one (one boy’s bike, one girl’s bike)
  • Lots of other giveaways and prizes
  • Kids can run the bases after the game!

Wednesday, June 18 VS Anchorage Glacier Pilots:

A Salute to Our Armed Forces

  • First 500 fans through the gate will win a FREE hot dog courtesy of Chugiak-Eagle River Legislative Delegation
  • Brigadier General Catherine Jorgensen will throw out the first pitch
  • Recruiters from each brand of the Military and cadets from the Alaska Military Youth Academy will be present.
  • The Alaska Army National Guard is providing a bounce house, rock wall, and obstacle course!
  • Some proceeds will go to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project

Come on out to Loretta French Park at 18100 Old Glenn Highway in Chugiak! As always, Chinooks games are completely FREE to all of our guests. This organization could not survive without the support of our community, so we would like to extend a big thank you to each of our fans, boosters, sponsors and host families.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1


Pair of HR Help Bucs Take Second Straight From Fish

ANCHORAGE – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks (2-4, 0-2 ABL) dropped their second straight game to the Anchorage Bucs on Saturday night, falling 5-1 at Malcahy Field. The Bucs (5-2, 2-0 ABL) have now taken a game at each team’s home field from the Chinooks.

Vanguard University’s Bret Collins singled three times on Saturday evening, highlighting the offensive effort for the Fish. Cornerstone’s Nick Covello drove in the only run of the contest for the visitors on an RBI groundout in the first inning.

Five other Chinooks found base hits, but the Bucs tied the game in the fourth inning. Anchorage eventually pulled away after two run homers from Gage West and Cade Reiten in the home sixth. Despite a strong performance from Trevor Lacosse, the Buc starter left after the fourth inning with an apparent injury, making him ineligible for the victory.

That stat went to Devon Stewart, as was the man on the hill when Anchorage took the lead for good. Stewart hurled four innings without allowing a run before turning it over to Joie Dunyon for the final frame. The Chinooks looked to be building a rally, but Dunyon got some help from right fielder Tyler Ware and the Bucs ultimately held on for the victory.

Chugiak-Eagle River’s Dan Przecnizny (Xavier University) countered with four strong innings of his own. University of Puget Sound right hander Steven Wagar pitched the fifth, but his second inning of work didn’t last as long. Wagar ended up being hit with the ‘Nooks second loss in league play before Zach Freeman (New Mexico State University) and Lance Phillips (University of Arkansas) combined for the final seven out.

The Bucs will now turn their attention to the Mat-Su Miners, as the two squads will square off at 2:00 from Mulcahy Field on Sunday afternoon. The Chinooks, meanwhile, will see the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at 7:00 at the same stadium.

Bucs raid Loretta French, win 6-1 over Chinooks

Box score CHUGIAK – On the opening night of official league play for the Chinooks (2-3), the Anchorage Bucs (4-2) took the win at Loretta French Park on Friday night.

The Chinooks offense would get its only contribution to the scoreboard on the second pitch of the bottom of the first inning.  Jimmy Lambert, the Bucs starting pitcher, left a fat one right over the plate for Steve Pollex who punished the ball high over the fence in right-center field.

Lambert would go on to shut down the Chinooks offense surrendering just two more base hits, not allowing any Chinooks touch second base.  After Bret Marks came on to relieve Lambert in the fifth inning, the trend would continue.  The Fish would not string together multiple base hits in an inning until the sixth when Bret Collins and Nick Covello would single, and Mark Linsday walked to load the bases.  Next came Griffith Roark with the bases loaded and two outs, but Marks would get him to fly out to left field.

Michael Fairchild made the start for Chugiak-Eagle River.  He made it through the Bucs order in order the first time through, but the fourth inning would be all the offense the Bucs would need.  Garrett Copeland and Cabe Reiten would single to start off the inning followed by a third single from Andy Crowly to tie the game at one run apiece.

The big knock came from Mark Krueger.  The Bucs first basemen would launch a 3-run homer off of Fairchild to make it a 4-1 advantage for the visitors.  And that is the score that would be seen on the scoreboard for much of the game until inning number nine.

The first two hitters drew walks off of Shane Armstrong, who relieved Fairchild in the sixth inning, followed by a fielder’s choice that put runners at the corners.  Mac Gridley would then strike out for the second out of the inning, but Chane Lynch was off running on the pitch that drew a throw from Chinooks catcher Mark Lindsay.  Lynch would get the stolen base allowing a run to come home for Anchorage.  The next batter would find open pasture on the right side of the infield allowing Lynch to come on home to make it a 6-1 lead for the Bucs.

In the bottom of the ninth innings, the Chinooks opened up the inning with a pair of walks by Billy Arendt and Josh Altmann.  They were able to work their way into scoring position, but Brandon Diaz of the Bucs slammed the door shut and finalized the victory for the Bucs.

Same two teams meet Saturday night in Anchorage.  First pitch is set for 7 pm AKDT.

‘Nooks hold off late rally by Miners for first victory in 2014

Box Score PALMER – The Chugiak-Eagle Chinooks (1-2) find the win column on Wednesday night with a 9-5 victory over the Mat-su Miners (2-1) to wrap up a series of four scheduled non-league games.  Tuesday’s game slated between the two clubs was waived off due to rain that fell over much of south-central Alaska, forcing a rematch back at Herman Brothers Field.

Jon Ferrendelli took the ball for the Miners, and he met an already surging Chinooks offense.  After walking James Nevant and hitting Bret Collins with one out in the top of the 1st inning, cleanup hitter, Kyle Conkle, singled to right field plating Nevant for the first run of the game.  Ferrendelli would then strike out Billy Arendt followed by a single off the bat of Jackson Cramer that would score Collins.  2-0 Chinooks.  Geoff Murphy drew a two-out walk followed up by a Griffith Roark rocket to right field that scored Conkle.  This concluded a 3-run opening frame for the Fish that saw all nine men in the order face Ferrendelli.

The bottom of the 1st inning was the Alaska Baseball League debut for righty Kyle McDorman.  Miners center fielder, Cameron Frost, legged out a dribbler between the mound and third base for an infield single before he was erased on a fielder’s choice hit by Dan Wunderlich.  The Miners then put runners at the corners when Nick Senzel got one under the glove of Jackson Cramer at first base.  Hunter Simmons drove in the lone Miners run for the first eight innings with a groundout to second baseman Griffith Roark.

The Chinooks offense added another run in the 2nd and 4th innings before roughing up Wasilla, Alaska native, Josh Grissom, with four runs in the 6th.  Collins recorded the 3rd of his three hits to lead off the inning, then Arendt would draw a one-out walk.  Cramer then plugged the left-center gap over the heads of the Miners outfielders who played shallow defense on the hefty left-handed slugger.  That would score Collins easily form second base and Arendt all the way from first.

Two walks, a single by Roark, and three wild pitches in a row by Grissom allowed two more runs to scamper home for Chugiak-Eagle River forcing another pitching change for Mat-su.  They turned to another Wasilla gent, Jonathan Boyer, who froze the Chinook rally with first-pitch 4-6-3 twin killer.  Boyer would go on to toss 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings for the Miners.

On the other side of the scorecard, the Chinooks rode the right arms of McDorman, Lance Phillips, Shane Armstrong, and Zach Freeman through the entire contest.  McDorman allowed the one hit by Frost in the first, but would shut down the Miners the next three innings seeing just one over the minimum during that period.

Phillips (1-0) would pick up the winning decision working the 5th and 6th innings while allowing just one base hit.  Shane Armstrong followed that up with a 1-2-3 7th and used 15 pitches to maneuver through a scoreless 8th frame.

As the game entered the 9th inning, things seemed eerily similar to the previous contests between these two teams with another wild finish.

The Chinooks had two men aboard, but were quickly turned away thanks to a line-out double play at first.

Freeman took the mound for Chugiak-Eagle River in the bottom of the 9th.  He walked Senzel to lead off the inning, then struck out Hunter Simmons.  Four runs (only one earned) on just two hits and three errors would come next that found the Miners in a ballgame again.  However, Freeman would need just one pitch to get Frost to fly out to deep center field to put the cap on a 9-5 victory for the visiting Chinooks.

Miners pitching surrendered 11 walks versus 12 hits in the contest, while the Chinooks stranded 14 runners on the base paths.  Terrence Connelly was the lone man on the home side with a multi-hit game.  He had two of their six total hits.  The Chinooks offense was paced by Bret Collins’ three hit, two double night and Jackson Cramer who also recorded three hits while driving home three.

The Chinooks are back in action Thursday night at Loretta French Park where they will host the American Legion All-Stars from Chugiak and Eagle River at 7 pm.

Miners Hold On for 10-7 Victory in Mat-Su

Box Score PALMER – The Chugiak Eagle-River Chinooks (0-2) dropped their second consecutive game at the hands of the Mat-Su Miners (2-0) on Monday evening by a final score of 10-7. The Miners and Chinooks are now halfway through their opening non-league series before picking up regular action later in the week.

The Chinooks struck first, but the Miners stormed back with a four-run second inning before adding a pair of runs in the fourth and two more an inning later. The sixth and seventh frames each saw the home team tack on another insurance run, but Chugiak-Eagle River cut into the lead a bit with a run in the eighth.

The ninth inning proved to be eerily similar to yesterday’s final inning, as the visitors scored five runs in the top of the final inning. The threat ended with a hard hit double play, but the Chinooks certainly made a game of it before ultimately falling by three runs.

Individually, North Alabama’s Kyle Conkle rebounded from a rough Sunday with a three hit, two RBI contest on Monday. James Nevant and Griffith Roark each laced a pair of base hits, while Jackson Cramer and Mark Lindsay helped give the team a total of nine base knocks.

Jordan Rodgers and Brandon Smith highlighted the effort for Mat-Su, as they combined for six hits in eight at-bats.  Four other Miner hitters contributed a multi-hit game, giving the team just enough runs to defeat Chugiak-Eagle River for the second time in as many days.

Dan Przeniczny was hit with the loss on the mound for the visiting Chinooks after allowing four unearned runs on five hits while striking out three through two innings. Ryan Harris was the first man out of the bullpen for the guests, surrendering four runs on four hits in his three frames on the hill. The final Chinook pitcher of the night was Steven Wagar, who gave up a pair of runs over the final three innings.

Ryan Hendrix received the starting nod for Mat-Su but did not qualify for the win after permitting just one run over the game’s first three innings. Henry Rodriguez came in behind him and picked up his first win of the year after three flawless frames. Vince Arobio surrendered his lone run in the top of the eighth, while Spencer Jack was on the wrong end of the Chinooks’ big ninth.

Jack was able to finally escape the final inning with the lead intact, and the Miners took the second of a four-game series 10-7. The Chinooks and Miners return to action on Tuesday at Loretta French Field, where first pitch is slated for 7:00 pm.

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