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Over the past 117 years, there have been two rules of thumb for managing a Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The first is get ahead early, as 10 p.m. sunlight turns to 11 p.m. civil twilight turns to midnight, when it's bright enough to see the players but not so easy to track an 80-mile per hour curveball.

The second is find the balance between it being a Major League All-Star Game, where getting everybody in the game is the primary concern, and it being a regular-season game for the Alaska Goldpanners, in which it counts in the wins and loss column.

For field manager Mark Lindsey, the first rule has an impact on the second.

“We definitely want to win the game,” he said, “but trying to get everyone a chance to play is definitely a consideration. I can’t really control that with the pitching, and in another way, it’s the players who really control that in terms of who bats and who plays.”

Thanks to a fast start, the Goldpanners’ lineup initially took a lot of the pressure off their coach. However, the San Diego Waves -- down 7-1 at one point -- missed the memo on not being able to rally after midnight.

As a result, the Midnight Sun Game that drew an estimated crowd of 3,200 fans and already featured Olympian Vicky Persinger throwing out the first pitch; a flyover by the 355th Fighter Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base; the midnight singing of the "Alaska Flag Song" by the Sweet Clementines; and the traditional seventh-inning stretch playing of “Happy Boy” needed even more excitement at 1:39 a.m.

That was when Brock Rudy -- who ended up 4-for-6 on the night -- knocked in Cayden Clark in the bottom of the 10th inning. His single sent the Goldpanners pouring out of the dugout and mobbing him at second base.  

The heroics of the 10-9 victory seemed unexpected after the Goldpanners jumped out to an early 7-1 lead.  

Goldpanners right-hander Ian Torpey got the start and labored through the first of two innings he threw — one in which Matthew Pinal’s snagging of a Quincy Scott rope down the first-base line and subsequent stepping on the bag to erase baserunner Caden Szuba with an unassisted double play benefitted him greatly.

Alaska then batted around in the bottom of the first, scoring five runs on key blows including a two-RBI double by Rudy and a two-RBI single by Caleb Millikan.

After Torpey worked through two bases-loaded jams in the second inning, surrendering a run on a wild pitch.

The Goldpanners added two runs in the third inning to stretch their advantage to 7-1, including an RBI double by Rafael Flores.

Pitching in relief, Garrett Cooper went 3⅓ innings on the mound, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits. West Valley High School graduate Andrew Troppmann followed his stint with went 2⅔, allowing five hits and three runs, two of which were earned, while striking out one. 

Matthew Pinal came in for the ninth inning for the Goldpanners, which was when the Waves tied the game up. A two-on single by Nicholas Jio scored two runs to draw the Waves within 9-8, and Quincy Scott tied it up on a two-out RBI single. 

That set the plate for Rudy's heroics in the bottom of the 10th. After Clark singled, Griffin Harrison was hit by a pitch, moving him into scoring position. With one out, Rudy drove a 1-1 offering into left-center field to score the game-winning run, and end a Midnight Sun Game that was like no other.

Contact sports editor Jeff Olsen at 907-459-7530 or jolsen@newsminer.com.

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