Alaska Goldpanners close home stint with 6th straight win
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Goldpanners defeated the Everett Merchants 8-2 Friday night for their sixth straight win and eight in their last nine games. With the win, the Goldpanners swept the Merchants in a six-game series, outscoring Everett 47-10 in the process.
The recent success could be simply be attributed to healthy, available players, as the Goldpanners were banged up and had players in COVID protocol over recent weeks, as Alaska regularly threw position players on the mound due to a lack of pitchers.
“The big thing is we were able to rest some guys, we weren’t able to do that earlier when the season started, and I thank my GM for that,” said head coach Anthony Ferro after the victory. “We have a little bit of depth now on the mound and in the dugout in regards to position players.
“We have some guys beat up, we only have one catcher [David Martin], we had to ride him, his hand is sore. Being able to have the flexibility with the roster is outstanding.”
With Everett playing with nothing to lose, the Goldpanners made sure not to play with their food. Consistent with the rest of the series, the Goldpanners struck first when a Ryan Pierce single scored Garrett Cooper in the opening inning with a base hit. In the second, the Panners put up four more runs to but the Merchants in the rearview mirror early.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hughes roped a hit to the centerfielder, who dove for the ball before coming up short, allowing Hughes to fly around the bases for an inside-the-park home run as the ball kept rolling into the outfield.
“Me and coach have been talking it, he said one of these times you’re going hit one and it is going to go by the outfielders and you just run, run as fast as you can, and that is what I did,” Hughes said of the inside-the-parker.
Marco Pirrucello recorded a pair of hits, while Cooper, Martin, and Reese Kent each batted in a run. Buddy Pindel, of Hawaii, threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out nine batters, while Christopher Tonna, Augusto Pineda and Stone Hewlett each pitched an inning.
Hughes, of Kansas State, has appeared in 10 games for the Goldpanners this season, and has seen the team only get closer as the season has gone on.
“I think it comes down to our clubhouse, everybody is rooting for each other, everybody wants everybody to succeed, so that is why I think we are such a good team right no,” he added “No matter what, even if somebody gets out a few times, they’re always rooting on their teammates. We are just playing good baseball right now, hopefully we can keep it going all the way to Seattle.”
That will be the Goldpanners next stop, facing the Seattle Studs for a three-game series beginning Monday. Alaska opened the 2021 season with the Studs, splitting the two games. The Panners will then take on the Redmond Dudes (WA) over the 4th of July weekend, before returning to the 49th State to visit various Alaska Baseball League teams, starting with the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks July 6, Mat-Su Miners July 7 and the Anchorage Glacier Pilots July 8.
“With regards to our first road trip, we were living out of our suitcases and nobody knew anybody,” said Ferro. “Now I anticipate for us to be a lot better on the mound, defensively and offensively. I am excited for it, I think we are going to get challenged down their in Seattle and I look forward to going to Anchorage and playing the other Alaska teams.”
The Goldpanners will return to Growden Memorial Park July 13 to face the Fairbanks Adult Amateur League All-Stars. All road games can be viewed on PannerVision on Youtube.
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