Kingsmen Drop Second Straight, Lose to Goldpanners 9-5

June 17, 2023

It was Faith and Family Night for game two of the Kingsmen’s four-game weekend series against the Goldpanners in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the 7:00 pm first pitch, it was 70 degrees and sunny––another beautiful night for baseball. In game one, it took the Kingsmen until the seventh inning to get their first hit. That would not be the case for game two.

The Kingsmen put up a four spot in the first inning with four of the first five in the lineup picking up base hits. The inning would be capped by a two-run triple just out of the reach of the Goldpanners’ right fielder from designated hitter Jack Killelea. Kingsmen starting pitcher Caleb Cox would allow a hit in the bottom half of the inning, but hold the opposition scoreless.

With Cox pitching well, the Kingsmen offense fell silent for the next three innings. With the top of the order due up to begin the fifth, though, the bats began to make some noise. Center fielder Darrien Whitaker drew a leadoff walk to start the inning and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Right fielder Cam Troyer would ground a single into center to score Whitaker to make it a 5-0 Kingsmen lead. However, the Goldpanners were able to escape the inning allowing just one run.

Despite cruising through four shutout innings, Cox began to falter in the fifth. The lefty from North Greenville allowed three singles before walking in a run and serving up a two-run double to cut the Kingsmen lead to 5-3. After Cox recorded his third punch out for the second out of the inning, Coach Joe Hudak went to his bullpen.

Mikah Conner entered in the fifth with runners on second and third and two men out attempting to limit further damage. The righty induced a grounder to short that should have ended the inning, but first baseman Blake Bevis couldn’t handle a short hop from shortstop Aidan Rice. The ball skipped past Bevis and two Goldpanners scored to tie the game. Conner would strikeout the following hitter to end the fifth.

After two quick outs in the following inning, the Goldpanners walked the bases loaded with the meat of the Kingsmen order due up. However, the boys from Rock Hill would fail to capitalize, stranding the bases loaded. 

With momentum on their side, the Goldpanners continued to add. Conner’s command vanished in the bottom of the sixth as he walked five hitters with three of the free passes coming with the bases loaded. Justin Stewart would replace Conner with two outs in the frame and pick up a strikeout to end it. 

The Kingsmen offense, however, was unable to catch the same spark they had in the first inning. The seventh and eighth innings ended rather quickly while the Goldpanners were able to pick up an insurance run off of Matthew Gross following a couple hits, a walk, and a fielding error. The independent Alaskan team entered the ninth with a 9-5 lead.

Hoping for a late rally in the final frame, the Kingsmen had two-three-four due up for their lineup. However, good pitching beat good hitting this time around as the heart of the order went down on three consecutive strikeouts. The Kingsmen have now lost back-to-back games after starting the season 4-0. They’ll be back at it tomorrow for game three of four in their weekend series against the Goldpanners.

Stay tuned for more Kingsmen news and updates as the summer season continues.

Coach Joe Hudak Postgame Interview:

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