Ready to play

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 14:47
Chinooks history begins June 12
Loretta French Park will host the first game of the 2012 Alaska Baseball League season when the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks host the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. on June 12. Admission at all 19 Chinooks home games this summer are free at the park, which is owned by the Municipality of Anchorage.

After a winter’s worth of waiting, the Chinooks have returned to Chugiak-Eagle River.

The newest Alaska Baseball League team begins its official tenure at the cozy confines of Loretta French Park in Chugiak on June 12, when the Chinooks host the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. in the collegiate summer league’s season-opener.

Want to know the best part?

Tickets are free for all 19 home games.

Team booster club president Lee Jordan said entry into the “stadium” — a municipal park surrounded by a playground, other baseball fields and a large hill in left field — is uncontrolled. However, Jordan did say fans of the team can purchase season tickets that come with a variety of coupons and other goodies.

Even though the Chinooks have yet to play an official ABL game, the league’s newest team still features four players with experience roaming their new home field.

According to team General Manager Chris Beck, Chinooks players Scott Kalamar, J.J. Turbin, Tyler Shyock and A.J. Work were members of the 2011 Athletes in Action team that played an exhibition game at Loretta French last summer. The success that July game convinced AIA to move to Chugiak-Eagle River full time.

The Ohio-based team — which asks its players to adhere to Christian beliefs — had previously been based in Fairbanks, but was essentially homeless last season.

Kalamar and Turbin are outfielders, Shyock is a shortstop and Work is a pitcher.

Turbin, a junior at Westmount College, was an All-ABL performer last season. He’ll be joined in the outfield by Kalamar, who Beck said is a speedy junior from Seton Hall.

Work, who is entering his senior year at the Master’s College, went 11-2 with a 2.48 ERA during his junior year.

Shyock, a Cal State Bakersfield sophomore, drove in 27 runs for the Roadrunners this spring.

A complete team roster is available at the team’s website,

The game last year was well attended, with fans roaming around the park’s chain link fence. Unlike other ABL parks, Loretta French has no exterior fence, meaning fans can watch the action from a variety of ringside vantage points.

Improvements to Loretta French, including bleachers and a press box, were added this spring to the field, which is also the home of Eagle River’s American Legion baseball team. Jordan said there will also be concessions and team memorabilia on sale.

To reach the park, take the North Birchwood Loop exit off the Glenn Highway. Take a right onto North Birchwood, then a right onto the Old Glenn Highway. Drive until you see the park on your right hand side.

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