Chinooks say summer a success
Despite losses, squad happy with Alaska experience
Members of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks pray following their season-ending 4-3 loss to the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks on Aug. 2 at Mulcahy Stadium. The team, which is made up of players from across the United States, is part of the faith-based Athletes in Action organization.
A winning season isn’t always defined by standings, but by spirit.
That’s the message Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks coaches and players delivered following the last-place Alaska Baseball League team’s final game of the season.
“We don’t measure success by wins and losses, especially what we do,” said general manager Chris Beck following a 4-3 loss to Fairbanks Aug. 2 at Mulcahy Stadium. “Character’s built, character’s refined during hard times.”
The Chinooks went just 8-27 in league play this season, but Beck said the team fulfilled its mission of spreading a faith-based message and playing hard every day.
“You can’t ask for more than that,” Beck said.
As part of the national Athletes in Action program, the Chinooks are a Christian-based organization that puts a priority on character and faith when choosing players for the summer.
Outfielder Griffin Gum, of Charlotte, N.C., said from a faith standpoint the season couldn’t have gone better.
“We’re here for a bigger purpose and that’s spiritual and to use our faith to witness to others our faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”
Gum said that Chinooks players formed relationships with players on other teams, often sharing their faith following league games.
“We’ve all grown in our faiths and developed some great relationships,” he said.
The Chinooks also made a good impression on the community during their second year in Chugiak-Eagle River. Host parents Ted and Ava Manolas of Chugiak said hosting Chinooks Gum and Drew Turbin was a pleasure.
“They were like extra members of the family,” Ted Manolas said.
Ava said hosting Gum and Turbin was a pleasure.
“They were so quiet you hardly even knew they were in the house,” she said. “They were quieter than my own children were, and they used to try to sneak in.”
Despite the rough season on the field, Gum said his second summer in Alaska was a joy.
“This is something I and these guys will never forget,” he said.
Gum said he was proud of the way the Chinooks refused to quit even as the race for an Alaska Baseball League title faded midway through the season.
“True character is often reavealed through defeat,” he said.
Goldpanners 4, Chinooks 3 (10 Inn.)
Fairbanks rallied for a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Chinooks in the final game of ABL tournament pool play.
The Goldpanners’ Nolan Meadows singled off Bryce Clifton with one out in the 10th to score David Fletcher with the game-winning run. The season-ending loss dropped Chugiak-Eagle River to 1-3 in the tourney.
Griffith Roark went 3-for-5 for the Chinooks, which also got two hits each from Tyler Krahn, Daniel Salters and Daniel Arthur. Chinooks Starter Andrew Klausmeier got a no decision after giving up three runs in seven innings of work.
Chinooks 10, Miners 5
Chugiak-Eagle River ended its home season at Loretta French on a high note, taking a 10-5 decision over the Mat-Su Miners on Aug. 2 during the season-ending round-robin Alaska Baseball League tournament. The victory lifted the Chinooks to 1-2 in the tourney.
Daniel Salters and Jake Murray each blasted homers for the Chinooks. Caleb Dirks pitched seven innings of 3-hit ball to pick up the victory.