It was a game of give and take for the Alaska Goldpanners in their 6-5 victory over the Everett Merchants on Saturday, at the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament in Kamloops, British Columbia.
While Collin Runge was the star of the Panners’ lineup, hitting 4-for-4 with two runs scored, the Merchants brought a weapon of their own, with Bryce Peterson hitting 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
Saturday’s game was one of four third-round games in the tournament, and placed the Goldpanners at the top of the Pool B division with a 3-0 record.
The Panners will face the Calgary Dinos (2-1), the second-place team in the Pool A division, in the semifinal round today at 11 a.m. AKDT.
Goldpanners starting pitcher Tanner Inouye gave Alaska a strong defensive start at the top of the first inning, putting out Patrick Chung on his way to first base. Inouye then forced Austin Hauck to fly out into right field, before causing Sam Linscott to strike out.
In the Panners’ half of the first, Runge managed to hit a double then steal third. Cole Carder walked to first, then stole second. Blake Porter was also walked, loading the bases. Runge landed the first run of the game when Aaron Kim was walked, but Carder and Porter were left stranded on base when Braxton Inniss flew out into center field.
Inouye’s throw faltered in the top of the second, allowing two hits and one run from the Merchants. Peterson hit a double, then scored off of another double hit by Jaxsen Sweum.
The Panners struggled to respond during the bottom of the second with only one hit and no runs. Ben McKay and Griffin McCormick flew out into center field, and Grant DeLappe singled but was caught stealing second.
In the top of the third inning Inouye found his pitch again, making short work of the top of the Merchant’s lineup. Nic Anderson struck out, and Chung and Hauck both flew out into right field.
Alaska pushed its offense in the bottom of the third, with Runge hitting a single then stealing second. Bryant Nakagawa was walked, then stole second with Runge stealing third.
Carder followed up with a single that brought Runge home and advanced Nakagawa to third. Nakagawa fell just short of scoring however, being put out by the center fielder on his way home. A single from Porter sent Carder to third, and with Inniss at bat, Carder managed to score off of an error, widening the Panners’ lead to 3-1.
The Merchants chipped away at the Panners’ lead with two hits and a run in the top of the fourth inning. Bryce Peterson singled, stole second and then scored off of a single by Riley Parker.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Panners responded with runs from both McCormick and DeLappe. DeLappe reached second on a pass ball, then advanced to thrid off of a single from Runge. McCormick was walked, then reached second off of Runge’s single. DeLappe and McCormick both came home when Carder hit a sacrifice fly, bringing the Panners up to a 5-2 lead.
The Panners protected their lead in the top of the fifth, giving the Merchants only one hit and no runs.
At the top of the sixth, Panners’ relief pitcher Derek Alumbaugh stepped on to the mound.
Alumbaugh’s arm wavered against the Merchants’ offense, allowing two hits and a run. Peterson singled, reached third off of a double by Parker, then scored Everett’s third run of the game with Diego Altamirano at bat.
Everett held their own in the bottom of the sixth, denying the Panners any hits or runs.
The Panners’ pitching changed hands again at the top of the seventh, when Isaac Olson relieved Alambaugh.
Unfortunately for Alaska, Olson also struggled to keep his throw hot, giving the Merchants four hits and two runs. Chung got on base with a single, then reached second off a single from Hauck.
A single by Sam Linscott allowed Chung to score and Hauck to reach second base. Hauck then scored Everett’s second run of the inning off a single from Sweum, tying the Goldpanners at 5-5.
The Panners were unable to pull ahead in the bottom of the seventh or eighth, with a total of only three hits during the two innings. Everett was equally stuck in their half of the eighth, with Olson retiring the side in order.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Panners applied much-needed pressure with three hits and one run. With Tony Riley on second and Kim holding third, a well-timed single from DeLappe brought Kim home, pulling the Panners up to a final score of 6-5.
Contact News-Miner sports assistant Brian Ely at 459-7589