The Alaska Goldpanners lost 4-3 in their season-opening summer college baseball game against the Northwest Honkers on Friday night in Edmonds, Washington.
However, the Panners’ surge in the top of the ninth inning — where Alaska scored all of its runs at Edmonds Community College’s Triton Field — showed the team’s potential this season, the second under manager Miles Kizer.
“I loved the way we got after it at the end of the game. We found ways to put pressure on them at the end of the game,” Kizer said by phone. “The tying run at third, the go-ahead run at second; we did a lot of it with two outs.”
Five Goldpanners in a row got on base after the visitors had two outs in the top of the ninth.
“We had a barrel-up line drive that went by the third baseman — you can’t ask for anything more than a barrel in that situation. I’m excited about the direction we’re going,” said Kizer, who was ejected in the bottom of the sixth after arguing with the umpire about interference by a Honkers baserunner.
“Barrel up” means hitting a pitch hard with the middle of the barrel section of the bat. The section also is known as the “sweet spot.”
Newcomers, including a few from colleges in Washington, accounted for the Goldpanners avoiding a shutout after they trailed 4-0 in the eighth inning.
Honkers relief pitcher Austin Pacika got Branson Trube to fly out and Griffin McCormack to ground out. Trube also is an assistant manager for the team.
Cole Carder delivered a single to left field to keep the inning alive. Carder, a junior from Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California, stole second base and moved to third while Braxton Innis was at-bat.
After Innis was walked, Grant DeLappe, a Washington State University junior, drilled a single past the outstretched glove of the Honkers’ third baseman to bring home Carder.
Derek Alumbaugh, who was a sophomore this past season at Skagit Valley Community College in Mount Vernon, Washington, banged a double to plate Innis and make it 4-2.
Bryant Nakagawa, a sophomore catcher from Saint Martin’s College in Lacey, Washington, drew a walk to load the bases.
Nakagawa was at first base, Alumbaugh at second and DeLappe at third when Ben McKay, from Wenatchee Valley Community College in Wenatchee, Washington, stepped to the plate.
McKay produced an infield hit off a 2-strike, 2-ball pitch from Pacika to score DeLappe and keep the bases loaded.
The game and the Goldpanners’ threat ended when Pacika got Tony Riley to line out to first base.
The Goldpanners finished with a 10-9 edge in hits.
Drew Necochea took the loss after working the first four innings for the Goldpanners. The right-hander from California Baptist University struck out two and hit a batter while allowing four runs, six hits and a walk.
Tanner Braun earned the win with a shutout effort for six innings. He allowed six hits and struck out four.
The Goldpanners and Honkers wrap up the series at 11 a.m. today at Triton Field. The game will be streamed on the Honkers’ Facebook page.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.