Grant DeLappe came up big again for the Alaska Goldpanners, hitting a three-run home run in the top of fourth, leading Alaska to a 7-4 win over the Edmonton Cubs in game two of pool play at the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament on Friday.
DeLappe hit a walkoff two-run double in Thursday’s game and the Panners now have a 2-0 record in the eight-team tournament.
Drew Necochea pitched all seven innings for Alaska and, despite being a little shaky in the fourth and fifth innings, held off a Cubs comeback. Friday’s game marked Necochea’s fifth start for the Panners and, having not pitched more than five innings this summer, and it was his longest outing this season.
He allowed nine hits and four runs and threw seven strikeouts.
The Panners offense got rolling early and after only three at bats, the bases were loaded. Griffin McCormick scored on a sacrifice fly by Cole Carder. A wild pitch put the panners up 2-0 before two flyouts ended the inning.
The momentum continued for Alaska in the top of the second. With two outs and Bryant Nakagawa in scoring position, Aaron Kim, hit a one-run single before scoring himself after an error by the Edmonton catcher and a pass ball.
DeLappe’s three-run homer one inning later marked the end of the Goldpanners offense for the night, and the start of the Cubs comeback effort. Three singles in the bottom of the fourth converted into one run for the Cubs before the Panners defense spun a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The bottom of the fifth inning proved to be more damaging for the Panners. After three Cubs singles loaded the bases, a wild pitch brought one runner home for Edmonton and put two in scoring position. Steven Homer hit a two-run single to make the score 7-4 before a putout at first ended the inning.
With the lead slipping, Necochea retired the next six batters in order, throwing four strikeouts, to end the game.
The Goldpanners close out pool play against the Everett Merchants, the tournament’s defending champions, today at 6 p.m. AKDT. The Panners faced the Merchants twice in the Grand Forks International Tournament, splitting the games 1-1.
Like Alaska, Everett houses a strong pitching staff. The two teams recorded the lowest ERAs in the Grand Forks Tournament with Alaska averaging 2.33 and Everett averaging 2.63. The Panners scored one run against the Merchants in Grand Forks.
The Goldpanners will next play at home at 7 p.m. July 10.
On July 17 starting at 6 p.m., the team is hosting a hockey night, featuring Stanley Cup winners Colton Parayko and Pheonix Copley. Parayko is a UAF alumnus, and Copley hails from North Pole.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMsports.