After their six-game sweep against Bercovich, the Alaska Goldpanners kicked off their series against the San Francisco Seals with a 17-10 victory Wednesday at Growden Memorial Park. This next six game series will be the last home series of the summer before the Panners leave for the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas, on July 27.
The Panners started off the night with pitcher Jacob Fricke on the mound. Fricke gave the Seals some early ground, allowing two hits and two runs. A single from San Francisco’s Marco Castillo, followed by a home run smacked by Trevor Greenley put the Seals up 2-0 in the top of the first inning.
The Panners responded in their half with a run from Ben McKay. McKay reached second off an error, then advanced to third with Cole Carder at bat before coming home off of a single from Brandon Leitgeb.
Still in the bottom of the first, Bryant Nakagawa singled, allowing Leitgeb to steal third. Marcus Lydon followed up with another single, and brought Leitgeb home for the Panners’ second run.
The Seals managed to load the bases in the top of the second with three hits, but solid defense from Alaska prevented San Francisco from scoring.
In the bottom of the second, the Panners leapt forward with four hits and three runs. Braxton Inniss singled, then scored off of a double from Preston Viltz. After a double from McKay, Viltz managed to score off a passed ball. McKay kept the scoring streak alive, coming home on a single from Carder, and bringing the Panners up to a 5-2 lead.
San Francisco chipped away at the Panners’ lead in the top of the third, with two hits and two runs. Castillo doubled, then scored on a triple by Greenley. Greenley later scored with Alex Schmitz at bat.
Alaska turned up the heat in their half of the third, bringing in five hits and seven runs. Lydon kicked off the streak with a single, advancing to second off another single from Tony Riley. Derek Alumbaugh reached first on a fielder’s choice, and Lydon advanced to third. A double from Inniss brought home Lydon and Alumbaugh.
Still in the third, Viltz was walked, with Inniss advancing to third on a pass ball. Then, with McKay at bat, Viltz stole second while Inniss stole home. Carder followed with a single, loading the bases. Leitgeb reached second on a fielder’s choice, sending Carder to third, while Viltz and McKay scored.
Already back at the top of their lineup, the Panners saw Leitgeb and Carder score off of a single from Lydon, finishing the bottom of the third with a 12-4 lead.
Fricke kept the Seals at bay in the top of the fourth, giving up only one hit and no runs.
San Francisco responded in kind, locking out the Panners in their half of the fourth with no hits and no runs.
In the top of the fifth, the Seals drove another homer, this time by Robert Lujan. The Panners managed to respond with one hit and another run in the bottom of the fifth. McKay was walked, then reached third with Carder at bat. A single from Leitgeb brought McKay home.
The top of the sixth was a blur, as Fricke’s powerful arm retired the side in order. The Goldpanners saw three hits in the bottom of the sixth, but were unable to score.
The Seals started to eat away at the Panners’ lead in the top of the seventh with four hits and two runs. Joe Morin hit a triple, then scored when Matt Monohan singled. Castillo managed to score later in the inning off of a sacrifice fly from Lujan.
Alaska struggled to answer in their half of the seventh, making only one hit and no runs.
At the top of the eighth, Panners relief pitcher Harrison Goebel replaced Fricke on the mound. Goebel let the Seals make up some lost ground, allowing one hit and three runs. Ben Mollohan advanced to first on a dropped third strike, then reached second with Hayden Craig at bat. Joe Morin sent everyone home with a home run, narrowing the Panners’ lead to 13-10.
With four hits and four runs, the Panners bought themselves some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth. Inniss singled, then reached second on an error. McKay was walked, then stole second, with Inniss stealing third. A double from Carder allowed Inniss and McKay to score. Leitgeb singled shortly after, bringing Carder home. Another double from Lydon saw Leitgeb score.
A combination of strong pitching and quick defense from the Panners shut out the Seals in the top of the ninth for Alaska’s 17-10 win.
The Goldpanners will play the Seals again at 7 p.m. Friday at Growden Memorial Park.
Contact News-Miner sports assistant Brian Ely at 459-7589.