It was the fifteenth day of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies at Loretta French Park as the Chinooks hosted the Anchorage Glacier Pilots Friday. There was a good crowd on both sides of the field, with fans seated down both fence lines, on the hillside and behind the right-field fence.
That is the good news. The bad news for Fish fans, though, is that the fliers flew and the Fish threw too far inside too many times.
A look at the scorebook shows HP (hit by pitch) a total of seven times. Only one of those, unfortunately, was courtesy of a Pilots pitcher. Six of those bases-by-bruises were from a combination of three Chinooks pitchers. Three came in the Pilots’ big inning, the third, when three hit batters contributed to five runs after one had come across in the second frame.
The game started off with three up and three down in the top of the first thanks to a strikeout by starter Andrew Klausmeier, a line drive into the glove of shortstop Stephen Ventimilia and a long fly caught by Collin Radack in center.
A couple of singles were slapped through in the bottom of the first, the first by Radack and the second by catcher Daniel Salters. Radack was unable to move past second, however, before three fish were thrown back into the water.
Disaster fell in the top of the third with two Pilots out when Klausmeier plinked the third man up square on the helmet, causing enough concern for the coaches and trainer to check to make sure the blow did not cause serious injury. That it did not was exhibited on the next pitch when the runner speedily stole second in retaliation. An error, a single, a double and two other hit batters were experienced before the third out came on a grounder to Ventimilia who threw sharply to Tyler Krahn at first.
The Pilots loaded the bases in the fourth, but reliever Devin Stanton was able to escape giving up a run, getting the potential grand slam to turn into a ground out, short to first.
A lead-off single in the top of the sixth led to the seventh Pilots run.
Chinooks fans’ spirits were lifted by a two-out rally in the fourth. Krahn singled and moved to second thanks to a walk given up to Jake Murray, followed by a base on balls drawn by Nick Covello. Ventimilia became the hero of the game when he drove a single into the outfield, scoring the runners from third and second.
Strong Pilots pitching held the Chinooks at bay after those two runs came in. For five consecutive innings it was one-two-three.
Saturday at 7 p.m, the Chinooks host the All-Stars from the Chugiak and Eagle River American Legion teams in a seven-inning contest.
At the end of the sixth inning, a drawing will be held for an ounce of gold. Proceeds from the raffle are to be used to equip the new concession stand being constructed at the field. Completion is scheduled for June 30.
By Lee Jordan. Published here with permission.Jordan is a writer and the founder of the Eagle River Star.