FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks clinched the Alaska Baseball League regular season title on a balmy Friday night at Growden Memorial Park by sweeping a doubleheader from the Mat-Su Miners.
The Goldpanners rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the first game 9-8, then used a four-run fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie and win the second 9-6.
Coupled with the Chugiak Chinooks 8-5 win against the Anchorage Bucs, the Goldpanners (22-12) have a two-game lead in the ABL with each team having just today’s game to close out the regular season.
The Bucs fell to 20-14, while the Miners fell to 19-15.
The Panners and Miners conclude their four-game series and the regular season with a 5 p.m. contest today at Growden.
The Bucs play the Chinooks (7-27) and the Peninsula Oilers (18-16) host the Anchorage Glacier Pilots (16-18) in today’s other regular-season finales.
All of the teams with the exception of the Oilers will play in the ABL Postseason tournament scheduled to begin Monday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
The Goldpanners first game is on Tuesday.
Nick Catalano came through with a one-out bases-loaded single to scored David Fletcher and David Edwards to cap the Goldpanners three-run rally in a wild first-game, featuring 17 runs and 24 hits.
Edwards had a huge night at the plate, going 4 for 4 with two doubles, a home run and three runs batted in.
Casey Munoz was 3 for 5 with a run scored and two RBI to raise his batting average to .325.
Fletcher was 2 for 5 with two runs scored as the Panners pounded four Mat-Su pitchers for 14 hits.
Goldpanners reliever Matt Milke pitched the final two innings to earn the win in relief of starter Nathan Bannister.
Tyler Martin, the fourth Mat-Su pitcher was tagged with the loss.
The Miners took a 4-0 lead before the Panners used a four-spot in the fourth inning to go ahead 5-4. Mat-Su came back to build 7-5 and 8-6 leads before the Goldpanners rallied.
In the nightcap, the Goldpanners snapped a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fifth to win going away.
Edwards completed an awesome night at the plate by going 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. He now has nine doubles and 17 runs bated in this summer.
Rick Reigner went 2 for 2 to raise his batting average to .293.
Joey Capistran, the second of three Goldpanner pitchers earned the win.
Trevor Bettencourt suffered the loss for the Miners.