Fish fighting for final Alaska Baseball League playoff spot

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 17:08
  • Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks in fielder Ethan English hit three home runs during in three minutes during the first round of the Alaska Baseball League Home Run Derby before Sunday’s ABL All Star game. (Bill Roth / ADN)
  • Ethan English, second from left, and Daniel Freeman, center, represented the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks during the Alaska Baseball League Home Run Derby that took place before the ABL All Star game on Sunday, July 14, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Through Monday, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks found themselves on the outside of the ABL playoff race, but still with a shot of overtaking the Peninsula Oilers for the fourth spot in the five-team league’s playoffs.

With more than a dozen games to play before the July 31 season finale at Lee Jordan Field, the Chinooks stood at 9-22, just 1.5 games behind the Oilers (12-22). Chugiak-Eagle River lost 7-6 on Monday to the Anchorage Bucs at Lee Jordan Field and dropped a 15-1 decision to the Mat-Su Miners Sunday.

Chugiak-Eagle River plays the Miners Tuesday and Wednesday night at Lee Jordan Field. The Chinooks will play eight of their final 13 games at home in Chugiak. All games are free at the field, which is located within the municipal Loretta French Sports Complex along the Old Glenn Highway.

Chinooks compete in All-Star festivities

When Justin Kirby goes back to Kent State in the fall, he can tell his teammates that he accomplished something Aaron Judge couldn’t.

He won the ABL’s Home Run Derby.

An outfielder for the Mat-Su Miners, Kirby outdueled Blake Paugh of the Anchorage Bucs in the derby’s final round Sunday at Mulcahy Stadium.

Kirby, who batted last in the two-man finals, knocked seven balls out of the park to beat Paugh, who blasted six.

The game was played in conjunction with the league’s All-Star game, which featured Chinooks pitchers Joey Leavitt, Trevor McGee, Sam Brace and Zach Sundine, along with catcher J. Paul Fullerton, infielders Ethan English and Mason Corbett; and outfielders Hayden Keller, Brandon Cody and Jess Davis.

English, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore-to-be at Indiana Wesleyan University, hit three homers and was unable to advance out of the first round. The Chinooks’ Daniel Freeman, who recently completed his sophomore year at Columbia State Community College, failed to homer.

Though the title eluded him, Paugh is in good company. In 2011, Aaron Judge fell short in the ABL Home Run Derby, but six years later won Major League Baseball ‘s Home Run Derby for the New York Yankees.

Upcoming games:

Tuesday, July 16

Miners at Chinooks, Lee Jordan Field, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 17

Miners at Chinooks, Lee Jordan Field, 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 18

Chinooks at Mat-Su Miners, Hermon Brothers, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 20

Oilers at Chinooks, Lee Jordan Field, 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 21

Miners at Chinooks, Lee Jordan Field, 4 p.m.

Monday, July 22

Chinooks at Pilots, Mulcahy Stadium, 7:10 p.m.

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