Goldpanners’ season ends in first round of West Coast World Series
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2020 Alaska Goldpanners season left nothing to remember, except for its inevitable cancelation prior to summer. The 2021 campaign left last memories for the players and staff involved, with over 50 games between Fairbanks, Washington and California.
It had the highs - like defeating the Everett Merchants in the 116th annual Midnight Sun Game - and the lows - like having to cancel multiple games due to COVID-19.
But in the end, dozens of collegiate athletes from varying parts of the country got the experience something few others get a chance to; play summer ball in for the Alaska Goldpanners in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Goldpanners were faced with a ‘win or go home’ scenario as single-elimination action began at the West Coast World Series in Marysville, California - home of the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, who happened to be Alaska’s first round opponent.
A common clichés is, “it is not how you start, but how you finish”. Well, Thursday’s opening round contest was defined more by how the Goldpanners started than how they finished.
The Gold Sox put up five runs in the first inning off four hits and a couple of free bases to take control early. The Goldpanners would chip away at the deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning when Rob Mattei and Grady Morgan each drew a walk with the bases loaded.
For 8.2 innings, relief pitchers Hector Garcia (4.1 IP, 1H, 0ER, 6Ks) and Ian Torpey (4IP, 0H, 0ER, 8Ks) combined to hold Yuba-Sutter scoreless while allowing just one hit, giving the offense an opportunity to continue the comeback effort.
The effort did not come without its chances, as the Goldpanners were able to get runners aboard throughout the 3 hour and 15 minutes contest. However, Alaska was unable to take advantage during the most opportune times, going 0-11 with runners in scoring position, while stranding nine base runners in the eventual 5-3 loss to the Gold Sox, ending the ‘Panners season in the opening round of the West Coast World Series.
The Goldpanners conclude their 2021 season 33-19 under head coach Anthony Ferro, as the players now prepare to return to their respective college campuses.
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