Alaska Baseball

Miners, Pilots win opening games in Top of the World baseball playoffs

Late runs lifted the Mat-Su Miners and Anchorage Glacier Pilots to victories Friday night in the opening games of the Alaska Baseball League’s Top of the World playoffs.

Tyler Wilson belted a two-out, two-run walkoff double to lead the Miners past the Anchorage Bucs 5-4 at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.

At Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak, the Pilots scored all of their runs in the final two innings for a 4-1 win over the host Chinooks.

The best-of-3 series continue Saturday with a pair of 6 p.m. games in Palmer and Chugiak. Sunday’s games, if necessary, are set for 4 p.m.

The Miners and Bucs were tied 2-2 after two innings, and it stayed that way until the top of the eighth, when Carson Roccaforte cracked a two-run double to give the Bucs a 4-2 lead.

The Miners rallied for three runs in the ninth, when they loaded the bases with a single and two walks. That brought up Wilson, who swung and missed the first two pitches, putting the Bucs one strike away from victory.

A wild pitch by Bucs closer Keaton Chase made it 4-3. Wilson singled on the next pitch to drive in the tying and winning runs.


Both starters performed nicely. The Bucs’ Will Kempner scattered six hits and struck out six in seven innings, and Mat-Su’s Will Johnston struck out 10 and gave up four hits in six innings.

Starters did their jobs in Chugiak too. The Pilots’ Nate Diamond fanned nine and allowed five hits in a six-inning start, and the Chinooks’ Zach Sundine struck out six and gave up five hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Chugiak took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a single by Haden Keller.

The Pilots didn’t answer until the eighth, when they scored three runs on an error, a wild pitch and two hits. Tom Tabak got things going with a one-out RBI single that chased Sundine, and the next two runs scored on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.

The Pilots tacked on another run in the ninth on a double by Alec Jones.