Goldpanners remain alive at NBC World Series

Alaska Dispatch News
Loren Holmes photo

The Fairbanks Goldpanners bolted to an early six-run lead and held on Monday night to win their second straight game at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas.

Fairbanks' 8-6 victory over the Arvada Colts of Colorado leaves it as one of eight teams remaining in the 80th annual tournament, which crowns the king of amateur summer baseball.

The Goldpanners next play Wednesday against the San Diego Waves.

The Alaska Baseball League champions blew to a 6-0 lead in two innings. Vahn Bozoian delivered an RBI single in the first inning. Cody Nulph stroked a two-run double and Jacob Hayes blasted a three-run home run to push Fairbanks' cushion to 6-0.

But Arvada plated two runs in the third inning and two more in the seventh to trim the Goldpanners' lead to 6-4. Fairbanks answered in the bottom of the seventh on Eric Hutting's two-run single.

Those runs proved critical when the Colts cut Fairbank's lead to 8-6 in the eighth inning.

Fairbanks reliever Mile Chambers came on with that lead, two out in the eighth inning and runners on first and third bases. Chambers ended the inning with a strikeout on a full-count pitch. Chambers also worked out of trouble in the bottom of the ninth, when he allowed consecutive singles with one out. But he induced a game-ending double play to earn the save.

Fairbanks starter Mike Benson (6-0) went six-plus innings, giving up eight hits and four runs, walking one and striking out three.

The Goldpanners opened the double-elimination tournament Saturday with a 4-2 loss to the St. Joseph Mustangs of Missouri and rebounded Sunday with an 8-3 win over the Sedalia Bombers of Missouri.

The Goldpanners have won the NBC World Series a record six times, most recently in 2002. They have also been runners-up six times.