Hard-fighting Chinooks fall to Miners in ABL playoffs
(Updated Aug. 8, 2018)
An upset-minded Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks squad fell just short in its attempt to upend the Alaska Baseball League regular season champion Mat-Su Miners Wednesday, falling in the first two games of their best-of-three ABL playoff series at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
The Chinooks — who qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons since moving to Chugiak in 2012 — dropped the Aug. 1 opener 5-4 and fell in the second game 5-3 the following day.
In the first game, the Chinooks led 2-0 after the first inning on the strength of Jordan Wharton’s two-run homer. The Miners’ Kona Quiggle matched Wharton’s two-run blast with one of his own in the bottom of the third to tie things up, but the Chinooks again went in front, taking a 4-3 lead into the sixth inning after a Nick Kreutzer dinger in the fourth and an RBI single by Anthony Forte in the fifth.
The Miners took the lead for good in the sixth, tying things on a sacrifice fly by Austin Pinorini and pulling in front on a double steal that saw Spencer Henson race home as Josh Hatcher swiped second.
The Chinooks outhit the mighty Miners 11-10, with Kreutzer going 3-for-4 and Wharton, Baily Collins and Michael Barker collecting two hits each.
Starter Luke Kindreich gave up five runs in 5.1 innings to take the loss for the Chinooks. Mat-Su reliever Josh Haley pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to earn the win.
Miners 5, Chinooks 3
Chugiak-Eagle River’s ABL season came to an end with a 5-3 defeat to the Miners on Thursday at Hermon Brothers.
In contrast to the opening game of the series, the Miners jumped out to an early lead, putting up five runs in the first three innings against Chugiak-Eagle River starter Jared Reklaitis.
The Chinooks picked up a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Bailey Collins, then cut the lead to 5-3 with a pair of runs in the eighth on Kreutzer’s two-run double. But that was as close as the team would get, as Mat-Su reliever Bryce Tassin retired the next five Chinooks hitters in order to earn the save.
The Miners went on to win the ABL championship, sweeping the Anchorage Bucs in the teams’ best-of-three series in Palmer.