July 1, 2002
Reprinted from Fairbanks Daily News-Minor
By Richard Larson
Ryan Schroyer arrived in Fairbanks in the third inning of the first game of the Alaska Goldpanners doubleheader with the Anchorage Bucs on Sunday.
By the sixth inning of the second game Schroyer, a right-hander from Arizona State, was warming up in the bullpen. In the seventh, with the Panners clinging to a one-run lead, he made his debut on the mound.
Schroyer struck out five and didn't allow a run in three innings of work, saving a 9-8 victory as the Panners salvaged a split of the twinbill. Anchorage won the opener 5-0.
"I wasn't surprised to get in the game," Schroyer said. "I wasn't planning on it either, but it didn't bother me. I overnighted in Anchorage and got some sleep last night so I was ready."
Schroyer allowed two hits and walked two, but struck out the final two batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, then got a little help from his catcher in the ninth.
With one out and runners on first and second, the Bucs Chris Campos hit a high pop-up behind the plate, which drifted toward the Anchorage dugout. Panners catcher Tyler Best picked out the ball late, then made a great diving catch, managing to hang on to the ball despite crashing hard glove-first into the ground.
"That was awesome," Schroyer said. "I haven't seen something like that in awhile. That's an ESPN kind of highlight play."
Schroyer then struck out the last batter he faced, getting clean-up hitter Mark Zamojc to swing at a 3-2 pitch.
The Panners (11-9, 6-6) didn't look like they would need any late-inning magic from the bullpen when they scored eight runs in the second inning, their biggest inning of the season, to take an 8-3 lead, in a league where four runs is almost always enough to earn a win.
The Bucs (9-11, 6-7) clawed back, however, with a run in the fourth and two in the fifth and sixth inning to pull within a run.
"We didn't feel like the game was over; you never try to think that way," said John Voita, who had three hits in the contest. "We may have felt a little more confident, but in no way did we feel like the game was over."
The Panners, who had scored a total of eight runs in the first three games of the series and had only scored eight or more runs three times this season, erupted unexpectedly in the second inning. Before the eight-run outburst, the Panners had not scored a run in their last 10 innings of play.
However, in the second inning, the first seven runners to come to the plate scored runs for the Panners.
Mike Hofius, who drew four bases on balls on the day and has 18 on the season, started the inning off with a walk. Voita followed with a bloop single that landed between the right fielder and the first baseman. Best then walked to load the bases.
Brandon Averill delivered an RBI single and Tim Montgomery brought in another run when he was hit by a pitch. Brett Garrard took a page out of Best's hitting book, by blooping a single to nearly the same spot behind first base, driving in two more runs.
Tony Perez followed with another RBI single, driving in the fifth run of the inning and chasing starting pitcher Chuck Withers from the game.
A sacrifice bunt by Ryan Haag brought in the sixth run before the hot-hitting Todd Jennings delivered another RBI single. After Hofius popped out, Voita beat out an infield single to bring in the eighth run of the inning. Averill then broke his bat grounding out to third.
In all, the Panners scored eight runs on seven hits in the frame, although only a couple balls were solidly hit.
"That second inning was a lot of fun," Voita said. "We definitely got some breaks, but you put the ball in play and good things will happen."
Marc Kaiser earned the win for the Panners, allowing eight runs, only three earned, on nine hits. He walked three, hit three and struck out six. On the day, the Panners gave up 13 runs in 16 innings, but their team earned run average won't suffer much as only four of the runs were earned. The Panners are on a dubious stretch of committing at least two errors in each of the last four games.
The teams combined for 17 runs on 24 hits and five batters were hit by pitches in the contest, all season highs for games involving the Panners.
Every Panners started either scored a run or drove in a run in the game.
"Everybody contributed," Voita said. "Our pitching has been good all year and I think the bats are finally starting to come around."
The win put the Panners in a tie for third place with the Kenai Oilers, two games behind the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and 1 1/2 behind Athletes in Action.
The Panners next eight games are at Growden against AIA and the Pilots.
But first the Panners get a day off. Their first scheduled day off in nearly three weeks.
"I'm probably going to find a lake a go fishing," Voita said, "Just get away from baseball for a day."
Carter cuffs Panners
Steve Carter pitched a seven-inning shutout to give the Bucs a 5-0 victory over the Panners in Sunday's first game, the only victory for the Bucs in the four-game series.
The Panners had six hits and were issued four walks in the contest, but they stranded two runners in each of the first three innings and left the bases full in the bottom of the seventh.
The game was only scheduled for seven innings.
The Bucs picked up single runs in each of the first two innings then added three more runs in the third off Panners starter Mike Moat. Panner errors contributed to all the runs scored in the second and third innings.
Kevin Welch and Chad Redfern combined for 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, but the damage was already done as the Panners were unable to scratch any runs off Carter.
**Staff writer Richard Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 459-7583**