Fish fight to the finish
The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks didn’t need a thank-you card. They let their bats do all the talking.
The Chinooks racked up 16 hits en route to a decisive 12-4 victory over the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks on fan appreciation night in their final home game of the Alaska Baseball Season on Sunday, July 29 at Loretta French Park.
“It was a great way to end it,” manager Jon Groth said. “I couldn’t have scripted it better.
“To finish in front of our home crowd like we did is really a treasure,” Groth said.
Drew Turbin went 5-for-5 with two RBIs and scored three runs to lead the Chinooks. Kris Kwak, Adam Humes and Scott Kalamar each had two hits.
Kwak, Humes, J.J. Turbin and Kalamar — who also drove in two runs — all hit doubles.
The Chinooks finished in fifth place with a record of 17-22. Adam Humes finished with the third-most RBIs in the league with 27. Kris Kwak tied for fourth-most with 26. Pitcher Mike Jeffreys led the ABL with 49 strikeouts in 47 innings.
Just a year ago, the Chinooks — formerly the Athletes in Action Fire — played the entire season based in Anchorage without a home field. Perhaps no one appreciated having a new home more than Kalamar, one of four returners from the Fire.
“It was like night and day,” he said. “It was great to have fans cheering for us.”
Returner J.J. Turbin agreed.
“We got to actually have a home atmosphere,” he said.
Chugiak-Eagle River residents showed great support for the Chinooks in their inaugural season, Kalamar said.
“They were behind our backs the whole season,” he said.
Though he would have liked more wins, J.J. Turbin said playing in Chugiak was enjoyable.
“It’s not the record that we wanted, but we still had a really fun year,” he said.
Chinooks 6, Miners 4
The Chinooks finished the ABL season with a record of 17-22 after defeating the Mat-Su Miners 6-4 on Monday, July 30 at Hermon Brothers Field.
Chinooks, Panners split
After losing 4-1, the Chinooks earned a 10-5 victory over the Goldpanners to split a doubleheader July 28 at Loretta French Park.
Humes had two of the Chinooks’ six hits in the first game.
In the second game, four Chinooks had multiple hits. Drew Turbin went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and scored a run. Kalamar and J.J. Turbin each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and scored twice.
The Turbin brothers both hit a home run.
Goldpanners 7, Chinooks 4
The Panners had 16 hits to take the first of a four-game series 7-4 over the Chinooks on July 27 at Loretta French Park.
Humes went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Kalamar went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs.
Pilots 8, Chinooks 3
Drew Shields went 3-for-4 and Griffin Gum and Kalamar each went 2-for-4 in the Chinooks’ 8-3 loss to the Pilots on July 26 at Loretta French Park.
Kalamar led the Chinooks with two RBIs and a double.
Chinooks 7, Pilots 4, 10 inn.
The Chinooks scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to beat the Pilots 7-4 on July 25 at Mulcahy Stadium.
Kalamar hit the eventual game-winning double to score Stockton Taylor, who drew a walk. Kalamar went 3-for-5 — including a home run — drove in three runs and scored twice.
Steven Karkenny, who also smacked a homer, went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and scored twice. Kwak was 2-for-6 with two RBIs.