Chinooks win home opener
Chugiak-Eagle River swept a home-and-home series against Mat-Su to start the 2013 Alaska Baseball League season.
After earning a 6-4 win in extra innings at Hermon Brothers Field on Sunday, June 9, the Chinooks defeated the Miners 3-1 the following night at Loretta French Park.
Pitching keyed the home opening victory, head coach Jon Groth said. The Chinooks five pitchers allowed just four hits and only one walk.
“We just didn’t give them any opportunities at all,” Groth said.
Collin Radack provided the game-winning hit when his RBI single scored Nicholas Covello in the bottom of the seventh.
“I had been seeing the ball well all day,” Radack said. “I got a good pitch to hit and luckily I was able to squeak it through.”
Jacob Murray added some insurance for the Chinooks when his RBI single scored Tyler Krahn, who singled then stole second to get into scoring position.
After the Chinooks took the lead, the Miners didn’t get a man on base the rest of the game.
Max Bruckner and Kenny Knudsen retired the final six Mat-Su batters in order to seal the win for Chugiak-Eagle River.
Bruckner said aggressive pitching led to his three-up, three-down eighth inning.
“I just wanted to go out there and come after hitters,” he said.
Knudsen, who earned the save, credited the Chinooks defense with giving him the confidence to close out the tight game.
“It makes it easy for me to pitch when I know I have a defense that will back me up,” he said.
Mat-Su took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on Nash Knight’s RBI single. Griffin Gum, who went 2-for-4, tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth.
In their first meeting, which was scheduled for seven innings, Ryan Shackelford drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth. Covello’s sacrifice fly scored Gum to give the Chinooks a two-run cushion.
The Chinooks opened league play with a 5-4 loss against the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks on Tuesday, June 11 at Loretta French.
The Chinooks played Mat-Su on Wednesday, June 12, but a score was not available when the Star went to press.
The Chinooks are coming together quickly, Bruckner said.
“Team chemistry is really high,” he said.
Everyone on the roster competes at a high level, Knudsen said, but they also keep the game fun.
“We got a bunch of characters on the team so it lightens the mood,” he said. “This is a great group of guys.”
Radack said there’s something in most ballplayers’ DNA that allows them to form instant bonds with other ballplayers.
And the Chinooks are no exception.
“This team is awesome,” Radack said. “It’s a blast.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com.
Local Legion players, Chinooks to face off in golden game Saturday
Star staff report
Chugiak and Eagle River American Legion all-stars will face off against the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks on Saturday, June 15 at Loretta French Park at 7 p.m.
The raffle winner of an ounce of gold will be announced during the game. Tickets are still being sold for $25 or five for $100.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting Chinooks booster club president Lee Jordan at 688-9068 or board member Bill Waddell at 688-2610 or 244-9158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds from the raffle will go to help cover the cost of equipping a new concession stand at Loretta French.
Here’s a look at the Chinooks schedule for this week:
Friday, June 14: Chinooks vs. Glacier Pilots, Loretta French, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 16: Chinooks at Glacier Pilots, Mulcahy Stadium, 5 p.m.
Monday, June 17: Chinooks at Bucs, Mulcahy Stadium, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, June 18: Chinooks at Glacier Pilots, Mulcahy Stadium, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19: Chinooks vs. Glacier Pilots, Loretta French, 7 p.m.