The North Pole High School boys baseball team downed the Hutchison Hawks, 7-2, in first game of their Mid Alaska Conference doubleheader Friday in Fairbanks.
The games almost didn’t happen due to early morning snow showers and temperatures near freezing in the Interior. But the skies had mostly cleared by game time with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees with a brisk breeze.
The Patriots didn’t let the cold weather get to them and came out strong in the first game, scoring three runs in the first inning to make it 3-0 against the pitching of the Hawks’ Isaac Roehl.
“I think the weather kind of started us out in low spirits,” Roehl said. “We had low intenstiy in the first part of the game.”
After the first inning, the game was scoreless until the fifth, when, with Wyatt Kammer on first, North Pole’s Gavin Fischer hit deep into center field, allowing Cammer to round the bases and put the Patriots up 4-0.
In the next at-bat, Alex Kazense smacked one into the outfield. where the Hawks outfielder fumbled the catch before tagging Kazense out. The error allowed Fischer to score another run for the Patriots to make it 5-0.
The Hawks rallied in the bottom of the fifth, led by Dominic Niva. After a grounder to right field put Niva on first, he managed to steal second. On the next pitch, Kazense stole third on a botched throw to the Patriots shortstop.
Then the Hawks Landon Bicknell was walked, putting Hawks runners on first and third with Roehl up to bat. Roehl pounded one to the left outfield before being caught in a pickle between first and second that distracted the Patriots outfielders and sent Niva and Bicknell home for the Hawks’ first and only points of the night, making the score 5-2.
After a scoreless sixth inning in which Fischer replaced Alex Garcia pitching for the Patriots, Kao Patterson relieved Roehl on the pitching mound for the Hawks to start the seventh. Patterson’s pitches hit two North Pole batters subsequently, putting Kammer and Garcia on base, before Patterson was pulled and replaced by Kyle Banning.
Kammer and Garcia each managed to score runs in their next at-bats to end the game.
“Our pitching was good and we executed well,” Garcia said.
“We also had tough batting.”
Garcia had eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings for the Patriots, while Fischer led all players with three RBIs and two hits.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Hawks triumphed 15-3 in five innings.
Hutchison batted to a 2-1 lead in the first inning before running away from the Patriots 6-0 in the third to make it 8-1.
The Hawks went on the offensive again in the fifth, earning seven runs while the Patriots managed only two more for a final score of 15-3.
Kyle Banning pitched five innings for the Hawks, earning 12 first pitch strikes and two strikeouts.
Roehl led the Hutchison offense with two hits and three RBIs.
The Patriots face the Delta Junction Huskies at noon today at Newby Field.
Hutchison faces the Eielson Ravens at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the West Valley High School baseball field.
Contact News-Miner sports assistant Selena Moore at 459-7530.