Anchorage — ABL_Standings
Mat-Su Miners 19 12 .613 -
Fairbanks 19 12 .613 -
Anchorage Bucs 18 13 .581 1
Peninsula Oilers 17 14 .548 2
Glacier Pilots 15 17 .469 4½
Chugiak Chinooks 6 26 .188 13½
Pilots 3, Miners 2
Bucs at Chinooks, 6 p.m., French Field
Pilots at Oilers, 6 p.m., Seymour Park
Miners at Goldpanners, 7 p.m., Growden Park
Pilots 3, Miners 2
The Anchorage Glacier Pilots closed their last ABL regular-season home game in style Wednesday, rallying for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to knock off the first-place Mat-Su Miners 3-2 at Mulcahy Stadium.
The loss dropped the Miners into a tie for first place with the Fairbanks Goldpanners. Both teams own 19-12 records and are one game ahead of the Anchorage Bucs (18-13) heading into the season's final weekend.
Erik VanMeetren scored the game-winning run for the Pilots (15-17), coming home from third base on a sacrifice fly from Brody Russell, who lifted a ball into shallow right field. VanMeetren didn't hesitate to test the arm of Mat-Su right fielder Ben Wylly and slid in safe on a close play.
Wylly had a hand in both runs for the Miners, driving in one and scoring another to put Mat-Su up 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning. Miners starter Gavin Glanz pitched seven scoreless innings and reliever Beau Hilton pitched a scoreless eighth before closer Tyler Martin let the lead slip away.
Kevin Viers started the Pilots' ninth-inning rally with a leadoff triple, and a pinch-hit single by Kewby Meyer cut the lead to 2-1 with one out. VanMeetren recorded his third hit of the game to move Meyer to second and the Pilots loaded the bases on a Miners' error. An RBI single from Kevin Garcia tied the score at 2-2 to set the stage for VanMeetren's sprint home.
The Alaska Baseball League title could come down to this weekend's four-game series between the Mat-Su Miners and Fairbanks Goldpanners at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks.
The Miners and Goldpanners are tied for first in the standings with 19-12 records and the leader in the standings after Saturday's final game will be the ABL champ. The big series begins with a game Thursday, continues with a doubleheader Friday and ends with a season finale Saturday. The Anchorage Bucs are one game back at 18-13 and the Peninsula Oilers (17-14) are two back.
The Miners, who lead the ABL with 159 runs scored, had won six straight league games before losing to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Wednesday. The Goldpanners led the ABL for much of the season, but have lost six of their last 10 games.
Pilots, Bucs clear out
The Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Anchorage Bucs will hit the road for their final games of the ABL season, leaving Mulcahy Stadium available for the American Legion baseball state tournament this weekend.
The third-place Bucs, who are a game back of the first-place Mat-Su Miners close with a three-game series against the last place Chugiak Chinooks at Loretta French Field in Chugiak. The fifth-place Pilots are out of contention for the ABL title, but at 15-17, still have a shot at a winning season. They will visit the Peninsula Oilers for a three-game series at Seymour Memorial Park.
The American Legion state tournament starts Thursday with three games at Mulcahy Stadium and will conclude with a championship game Aug. 1. Wasilla Post 35 comes in as the top seed and Kenai Post 20 is the defending champion.