Play Ball! Alaska Goldpanners and Midnight Sun Game return for 61st season
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Less than a year ago, the Alaska Goldpanners had to cancel their season for the first time in the organization’s rich history. To say they are coming back stronger for their 61st season might be an understatement, with the potential of playing up to 50 games and bringing NCAA Division I talent from various programs around country to Fairbanks.
“We’ve got the makings of a home schedule that has like 37 games,” said Goldpanners General Manager John Lohrke. “You could look back three or four years ago and you would see about 23. We are going to play in every other Alaska League park this summer, it has been a long time since we have done that. It is quite a schedule and we are really looking forward to fulfilling it for sure.”
With the return of the Goldpanners comes the return of the famed Midnight Sun Game, with the first pitch of the 116th edition set for 10 p.m. June 21 against the Everett Merchants. The tradition since 1906 takes place on the night of the summer solstice, which is celebrated as the longest day of the year and is played without the use of artificial lights.
With over 200 Major Leaguers in their history (209 to be exact), there has been no shortage of talent to don the Alaska flag on their uniform. The 2021 squad will feature over 15 DI baseball players from schools ranging from Kansas, to UC Santa Barbara, to Oregon.
“I like some of the new schools we are getting into,” added Lohrke. “There are some staples too, but a new coach takes us into schools that we haven’t seen in a while. It looks really good, I think it is a real good roster and we are anxious to see it fall into place.”
Managing the dugout for the 2021 is Anthony Ferro, with Shane Dudoit named the assistant. Ferro has recorded 14 20-win seasons with Butte College, while Dudoit is currently an associate scout for the Texas Rangers. Mark Lindsay will be the Goldpanners’ pitching coach for the season, with the former San Francisco State standout joining the Chico State staff in 2020.
Before the historic game, the summer-collegiate baseball team will begin its season in Washington against the Seattle Studs June 2-3, a recent rival for the Goldpanners since their independence from the Alaska Baseball League. Their first series in Alaska will be three games from June 5-7 against the Peninsula Oilers in Kenai.
The Goldpanners will make their home debut June 10, when they host the Orange County Riptide at 6:30 p.m. to start a three-game series and a 15-game homestand. The Riptide will stay in Fairbanks to take part in a round-robin tournament with the San Diego Waves, Bercovich 35 and the host Goldpanners June 13-15. The Waves will then stick around for a three-game series June 16-18 at Growden Memorial Park.
The Panners begin a nine-game road trip between Washington Alaska in late June, visiting the Studs the 28-30 and the Redmond Dudes July 2-4. They will return to Alaska to circle the southcentral, visiting the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks, Mat-Su Miners (Palmer) and the Glacier Pilots (Anchorage) July 6-8. The Goldpanners will play the remainder of July in Fairbanks, scheduling series against the Utah Marshalls, Boulder Collegians and Pride Baseball, with the home finale July 31 at 7 p.m. After visiting the Humboldt Crabs for a three-game series, the Goldpanners will conclude their season with the West Coast World Series scheduled for August 7-13. Historically, the Panners compete in the National Baseball Congress World Series, where they have won seven championships and first received national attention with a 2nd place finish in 1962.
Tickets for the season and the 116th Midnight Sun Game can be found here. As the organization welcomes a number of players to Fairbanks for the summer, the Goldpanners are still seeking families to host a player or two for about 4-5 weeks during the summer. Those interested may reach out to Rhonda Lohrke at 907-978-4186 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The full schedule and roster can be found below.
2021 ALASKA GOLDPANNERS SCHEDULE
|June 2-3||Seattle Studs||Seattle, WA|
|June 5-7||Peninsula Oilers||Kenai, AK|
|June 10||OC Riptide (Home Opener)||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 11-12||OC Riptide||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 13-15||Tournament (OC Riptide, San Diego Waves, Bercovich 35)||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 16-18||San Diego Waves||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 20||Everett Merchants||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 21||Everett Merchants (Midnight Sun Game)||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 22-25||Everett Merchants||Fairbanks, AK|
|June 28-30||Seattle Studs||Seattle, WA|
|July 2-4||Redmond Dudes||Seattle, WA|
|July 6||Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks||Chugiak, AK|
|July 7||Mat-Su Miners||Palmer, AK|
|July 8||Glacier Pilots||Anchorage, AK|
|July 13||Fairbanks Men’s League||Fairbanks, AK|
|July 14-17||Utah Marshalls||Fairbanks, AK|
|July 19-24||Boulder Collegians||Fairbanks, AK|
|July 26-31||Pride Baseball||Fairbanks, AK|
|August 3-5||Humboldt Crabs||Arcata, CA|
|August 7-13||West Coast World Series||Lincoln/Marysville, CA|
2021 ALASKA GOLDPANNERS ROSTER
|Head Coach||Anthony Ferro||Butte College|
|Asst. Coach||Shane Dudoit||Trosky Baseball|
|Pitching Coach||Mark Lindsay||Chico State|
|Infield||Chase Rodriguez||Dixie State||Fr.||L/R||5-11/185||Las Vegas, NV|
|Infield||Ryan Pierce||Fresno State||Fr.||R/R||6-3/230||Brentwood, CA|
|Infield||Elijah Dale||Kansas State||Fr.||L/R||5-11/175||Crystal City, MO|
|Infield||Travis Warinner||Yavapai JC||So.||R/R||5-8/180||Glendale, AZ|
|Infield||Carson Gross||Northern Colorado||Fr.||S/R||5-10/160||Folsom, CA|
|Infield||Marco Pirruccello||Fresno State||Fr.||L/R||5-11/185||Rocklin, CA|
|Outfield||Rees Kent||St. Mary’s (Clovis HS)||Fr.||R/R||6-1/190||Fresno, CA|
|Outfield||Luke Glascoe||UC San Diego||So.||L/R||5-11/180||Huntington Beach, CA|
|Outfield||Mason Marquez||UC Santa Barbara||So. (rs)||R/R||6-0/195||Hollister, CA|
|Outfield||Dominic Hughs||Kansas State||Fr.||L/L||5-10/180||Boston, MA|
|Pitcher||Stone Hewlett||Kansas||Fr.||LHP||6-1/180||Leawood, KS|
|Pitcher||Sam Brady||Kansas||Fr.||LHP||6-1/180||Lake Quivira, KS|
|Pitcher||Sam Clow||Dixie State||Fr. (rs)||RHP||6-1/220||Mesa, AZ|
|Pitcher||Ian Torpey||Northern Colorado||Fr.||RHP||5-11/175||San Jose, CA|
|Pitcher||Jacob Walsh||Oregon||Fr.||LHP||6-4/215||Las Vegas, NV|
|Pitcher||Jordyn Eglite||San Francisco State||Jr.||RHP||6-4/220||Martinez, CA|
|Pitcher||Tyler Franks||San Francisco State||Jr. (rs)||RHP||5-11/185||Brentwood, CA|
|Pitcher||Augusto Pineda||Monterey Bay||Jr.||RHP||5-9/160||San Leandro, CA|
|Pitcher||Christopher Tonna||Monterey Bay||Jr.||RHP||6-1/205||Fremont, CA|
|Pitcher||Logan Barnier||UC Santa Barbara||Fr.||RHP||6-6/195||Monrovia, CA|
|Catcher||Alton Gyselman||Yavapai JC||Fr.||R/R||6-5/190||Bozeman, MT|
|Catcher||Dylan Caplinger||Kansas State||Jr.||R/R||5-11/195||Edmond, OK|
|Catcher||Blake FitzGerald||UC San Diego||So.||L/R||6-0/225||Mission Viejo, CA|
|Alternate||Mathew Ivancic||Dixie State||So.||R/R||6-0/185||Wildomar, CA|
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