Goldpanners’ rally comes up short in 114th Midnight Sun Game

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Baseball and the Midnight Sun; Alaskans know this one of the all time great combinations.

Friday night, the Alaska Goldpanners continued the storied tradition, taking on the Seattle Studs in the 114th Annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game.

History has been on the Panners side for the game, as their record stands at 46-14, since they started hosting the event.

The past two Midnight Sun Games have gone into extra innings, including the Goldpanners hitting a walk off home run in last year's edition.

However, the Panners couldn't strike gold two years in a row, falling to Seattle 5-4 in 11 innings Friday in front of a crowd of over 3,500 people.

A forgetful first inning by the Goldpanners saw them trailing 4-0 early.

Following the opening inning, the Goldpanners did not allow a single run until the fateful 11th frame.

Alaska was able to dig themselves out of the deficit by adding a run in the second, fourth and sixth innings.

Down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth, Cole Carder extended the game beating out the throw to first and tying the game at 4 with an RBI.

Although the game ended at nearly 2 a.m., the crowd was still there to support their home team.

"It was really cool,” Griffin McCormick said, who finished the night 2 for 2 with an RBI. “I have only been able to play in front of a crowd like that a couple of times, so it was really cool."

For the players involved, its an experience they won't get from any other summer league club.

Joe Riley began the season with the Panners last year, but got injured early on, and had to return home prior to the Midnight Sun Game. Riley returned to Alaska this year, and got his chance to get the full experience, even tossing three scoreless innings.

"It is awesome, we had a great crowd out here, they supported us from the first pitch to the last pitch,” Riley said. “Can't get better than that, playing the midnight sun game in this beautiful weather, can't get better than that.”

Extra innings did not keep the crowd from calling it a night on the longest day of the year.

Even after 1 am, fans like Andrew Troppman were still bringing the spirit and keeping the crowd engaged.

"I just want to get them hyped because the baseball players needed some energy, especially when its this late, so I thought why not use the fans to give them the energy." Troppmann said.

Braxton Inniss and Grant DeLappe picked up RBI’s for the Goldpanners in the loss.

The series with the Studs will continue through Sunday, before the Panners compete in two tournaments in Canada.