Late rally lifts Goldpanners over Honkers


By Brad Joyal

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Goldpanners’ bats are alive.

After starting the year with 7-1 and 5-3 losses in a season-opening road trip against the Seattle Studs, the Goldpanners have found their rhythm at Growden Memorial Park.

Eight Alaska players recorded a hit in Tuesday’s series opener, as the team rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on its way to an 8-5 victory over the visiting Northwest Honkers, who are based in Fall City, Washington.

Tyler Heinrichs led the Panners’ lineup, finishing 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored. The right fielder from Tulane University gave Alaska a 2-0 lead when he plated Jordan Ross with an RBI double off Northwest starting pitcher Brad Bennett.

Ross, a shortstop from Spokane Falls Community College, finished 2 for 5 with two runs scored, while first baseman Brandon Langan, of the University of New Mexico, went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.

In all, the Panners recorded 11 hits on the night.

After Alaska jumped out to a 4-0 lead, the Honkers answered with two runs in the top of the sixth and one more in the seventh.

Although the Panners watched their advantage shrink to 4-3, the team put the game out of reach when it exploded for four runs in the bottom half of the seventh.

Nick Ames, a designated hitter from the University of Las Vegas, started the rally with an RBI single that scored Mitch Berryhill, of Salt Lake Community College.

Three batters later, Ames scored on a wild pitch to extend the team’s lead to 6-3 during Langan’s at-bat.

Langan went on to plate Heinrichs and Tighe Koehrin, a catcher from Indiana Tech University, with an RBI single.

The Honkers scored two runs against Alaska reliever Michael Hobbs in their final trip to the plate, but the right-handed pitcher from Corona, California, got out of the inning to earn a save for the Panners (2-2 overall).

Austin Toerner, of Bakersfield College, earned the win for Alaska. He allowed five hits and two runs (both earned) in five innings of work. The righty from Bakersfield walked three and struck out one in the win.

Nick Sparks was the first Panner to enter in relief, allowing one run on one hit in two innings. Jacoby Endersby tossed a scoreless eighth inning before Hobbs came in to shut the door.

Northwest catcher Chaz Lopez, of Pacific Lutheran, was the only Honker to register multiple hits. He finished 4 for 5 with a run scored.

Rafe Chaumette, an outfielder from Trinity University, added an RBI for the Panners.

The Panners and Honkers will meet 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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