The Alaska Goldpanners continue to dominate the second half of the summer season, adding another win to their record with a 10-1 blowout over Bercovich on Thursday at Growden Memorial Park.
Eight of the runs came from Blake Porter and Aaron Kim, who each hit a 3-run homer in the second and sixth innings, respectively. Porter also hit two one-run singles.
Bercovich’s lone run came in the ninth inning after the Goldpanners brought in outfielder Cole Carder to close out the game. After getting two quick putouts, Carder struggled to find the strike zone and three walks and a hit batsman drove in a run before a fly ball ended the game.
The 24-10 Goldpanners have gone 16-4 since wrapping up their first homestand on June 23 and are 2-0 in the series with Bercovich after an eight-run eighth inning gave the Panners a come-from-behind 8-1 win on Wednesday.
“It isn’t quite as good as it was before we left for B.C.,” said Goldpanners head coach Miles Kizer in reference to the recent competition. “But both teams that have been up here have played hard. … Their pitchers yesterday were good and they held us back for quite a while. ... They’re doing things right and they are being as competitive as they can be.”
Goldpanners starting pitchers Joe Riley and Cameron Walker, who were resting their arms, got in on the hitting action as well on Thursday, taking Porter’s spot in the lineup after he had already driven in five runs. Walker got on base from a walk, but not before his gloveless hands slipped on the handle of the bat, sending it flying. But giving Porter a rest came with a purpose.
“The big thing I was looking to do on this stretch with the Saints and with Bercovich is just making sure everyone is getting a couple days off a week,” Kizer said. “That first stretch was every day and a ton of travel and it was a lot. … I want to make sure everyone is in a good spot physically and mentally before we get to Wichita.”
Alaska will be adding two new bats and bringing back infielder Collin Runge before the team makes its debut in Wichita, Kansas, for the National Baseball Congress World Series at the end of the summer. Runge, who left for a major league tryout mid-summer, was a key bat for Alaska during the Grand Forks tournament.
The team is also adding another infielder, Patrick Chung from the Everett Merchants. Chung played for Alaska last summer when he led the team with 49 hits and was also the MVP at both the Grand Forks and Kamloops tournaments this year. Chung will finish up the season with the Merchants and will meet the Panners in Wichita.
The last addition is outfielder Preston Viltz, who will be making his debut as a Panner in today’s matchup against Bercovich. The game starts at 7 p.m. at Growden.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.