Goldpanners top Honkers for third straight win

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By Brad Joyal

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Goldpanners are on a roll.

After opening their seven-game series against the Northwest Honkers, of Fall City, Washington, with a victory Tuesday, the Goldpanners continued their winning ways by upending the Honkers 9-3 on Wednesday at Growden Memorial Park.

Unlike Tuesday, when Northwest never held a lead, the Honkers garnered control early when they put a run on the scoreboard against Alaska’s starting pitcher, Nick Flesher, in the top of the third inning.

The lead didn’t hold for long.

During the Panners’ next trip to the plate, Nick Ames plated Mitch Berryhill with a game-tying RBI double. Two batters later, JT Arruda drove Tyler Heinrichs home with an RBI single to give Alaska a 2-1 edge.

Although the Honkers evened the score in the top of the fourth, the Goldpanners (3-2 overall) never looked back after answering with a three-run inning in the bottom of the fifth.

Arruda, a third baseman from Fresno State University, was in the middle of the three-run rally, as he brought Berryhill and Ames home with an RBI single off Northwest starter Chaz Lopez.

Griffin Barnes extended the Panners’ lead to 5-2 when he drove Heinrichs home with a sacrifice fly to center during his ensuing at-bat.

Jordan Ross and Berryhill each scored a run in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach for the Honkers, who fell to 0-2 on the season.

Flesher earned the win for the Panners, as he allowed two runs (one earned) and surrendered seven hits in five innings of work.

The 6-foot, 180-pound righty from Spokane Community College walked one batter and struck out two in the win.

Jordan West, of the University of Texas Alrington, pitched the sixth and seventh innings for the Panners. He allowed one run on two hits, and walked one batter and struck out another.

Brandon Langan, of the University of New Mexico, entered in the eighth and tossed a scoreless inning before Andrew Fernandez, of California State East Bay, struck out two Honkers to close it out in the ninth.

Ames, a first baseman from the University of Las Vegas, finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Arruda went 3 for 4 with an RBI.

Berryhill finished 2 for 3 with an RBI, two walks and four runs scored.

The Panners will host the Honkers at 7 p.m. today at Growden.

Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMSportsGuy.

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