After dropping two consecutive games, the Alaska Goldpanners made it their mission to go out on a high note in their final road series before returning to Fairbanks for the first time in two years.
After falling to 1-2 on the year, the Panners rallied with back-to-back victories against the Kenai Peninsula Oilers to go over .500 on the season, win the series against their rivals, and return home with a winning streak before playing in Growden park for the first time since 2019. The Goldpanners defeated Kenai 8-7 on Sunday and 4-3 on Monday.
The Panners started off as hot as they could in the Sunday game. With the bases loaded in the top of the first, Alton Gyselman was walked, scoring Elijah Davis and putting the Goldpanners up 1-0. Dominic Hughes then reached first on a fielder’s choice, allowing Noah Turley to score before Ryan Pierce’s two-run RBI single scored Gyselman and Marco Pirruccello. Hughes put a run on the board after that with a steal of home and just like that, the Panners had a 5-0 lead.
The offense was just as hot in the top of the third. That was when Gyselman scored on a Wild Pitch to make it a 6-0 game before Grady Morgan’s two-run RBI single scored Hughes and Travis Warinner. The Goldpanners finished the inning with an 8-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Buddie Pindel was sensation through five innings on the mound, striking out seven batters while giving up four hits with no walks or runs. After the fifth, however, reliever Javyn Pimental came in and the game nearly got away from the Goldpanners. as he gave up six earned runs on five hits and a walk through only 0.1 innings. Pimental was then relieved by Sam Brady for 1.1 innings as the Panners found themselves clinging to an 8-7 lead after the Oilers scored seven unanswered runs. Brady and German Fajardo combined to throw 1.2 innings while collecting one K a piece and surrendering zero hits. With that, the Panners dodged a bullet and got the win despite being out-hit 9-to-5.
The scoring slowed down in the second game, but the pitching was as strong as it was when Pindel was in on Sunday. Tyler Franks got the start and struck out five, walked two, and gave up zero hits through two innings of work. Augusto Pineda struck out three while walking three in one inning of relief and also gave up zero hits, but due to four errors by the defense the Oilers scored three runs while he was in the game. Christopher Tonna got the win after throwing four innings, giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out four.
The Goldpanners struck first as David Martin scored on a Wild Pitch in the top of the second inning to put them up 1-0. Morgan’s RBI single in the top of the third scored Hughes before Turley’s RBI single scored Morgan later. Martin’s RBI triple then scored Turley to put the Panners up 4-0. Things got hectic in the bottom of the third as Andrew Sojka, Ben Grunberg, and Henry Novicki all scored on errors to bring the Oilers within one. The game was scoreless the rest of the way, however, and the Panners again held on for the win.
With that, the Goldpanners are now 3-2. Thursday evening, for the first time in what feels like forever, they will return home to Fairbanks to play at Growden. Thursday’s home opener against OC Riptide will be played at 6:30 p.m. The Panners will play the Riptide at home on Friday and Saturday as well with both games starting at 7 p.m.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.