FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Goldpanners are visiting our neighbors in Canada for the next few weeks to compete in a pair of tournaments, with the Grand Forks International on the slate first.
In the opening contest, Alaska Goldpanners came away with a 3-2 victory over the Houston Westchase Express.
The Panners got going early with a pair of runs in the opening inning and an insurance run in the third. Alaska need all of those runs, as the Express came knocking on the door with a pair of runs in the 7th inning.
Cole Carder led all batters with three hits for the Panners, while Griffin McCormick crossed the plate twice in the victory.
Jacob Fricke got the win on the mound for the Panners, tossing 6 and 2/3 innings while only allowing one earned run. Cameron Walker closed the door on the game with a perfect 9th innning.
With still three more games on the tournament schedule before the money round, Goldpanners Manager Miles Kizer is taking it just one game at a time.
"We'll see where the week takes us. We are competitive, we are good enough to be in the mix on Monday," Kizer said. "It is just a matter of how the ball bounces a little bit. In a tournament like this it is about who makes the fewest mistakes. So, I would like to see us continue to move forward and continue to make fewer and fewer mistakes until hopefully a clean game Monday night."
The purse for the Grand Forks tournament sits at $50,000.
In 2017, the Goldpanners had the opportunity to play in the Grand Forks International and the Kamloops Baseball Tournament in British Columbia.
The Panners enjoyed success on the field and in their overall experience, and made sure to book the same tournaments the following year.
However, last summer, Grand Forks experienced a historic flood, canceling the trip for the Panners altogether.
As Grand Forks is still feeling the affects of the flood, they were able to put on the 37th edition of their storied baseball tournament and this year, Alaska made sure to make an appearance.