Home Alaska Baseball League 49th State Hardball Report: Mayor's Cup On Deck

49th State Hardball Report: Mayor's Cup On Deck

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The two teams who call the city proper of Anchorage home — the Glacier Pilots and the Bucs — have played plenty of  games against one another this season. However, next week they’ll play a few that actually count for something more than a few points in the standings. June 16th through the 18th will mark 2013’s incarnation of the Mayor’s Cup, an annual best-of-three series to determine once, though probably not for all, who is the top team in Anchor Town.

pilots
Sean Adler

The Mayor’s Cup is the product of a rivalry as natural as the game of baseball. The Glacier Pilots were the original Anchorage club, founded in 1969 to give Alaska’s largest city a club worthy of rivalling the Goldpanners of Fairbanks. It wasn’t long, though, before the Pilots found themselves representing the old guard and fighting off a new challenger. In 1980 the Bucs — originally the “Cook Inlet Bucs” — began play, and in 1981 officially became a part of the League.
The rivalry between the two Anchorage clubs has not always been cordial. The Bucs were founded on a grudge held by the late Dennis Mattingly, whose rec-league team had steamrolled their competition but were snubbed by the “big boys” of the ABL when they came looking for tougher opponents. Least thrilled of all were the Pilots, who were not about to scoot over and make room for the local upstarts. In the early days, the bad blood was so intense that it contributed to a split in the league, with the Bucs joining Fairbanks and the now-defunct North Pole Nicks while the Pilots, Miners and Oilers formed their own southcentral league.
These days, however, the two clubs get along well enough to share an office building down on Anchorage’s Park Strip and their mutual dislike mostly manifests itself out on the field. The Mayor’s Cup represents the seasonal climax of their rivalry. If history is any indication, the Pilots are the favorites, having taken home the trophy seven years running. On the other hand, history means little in a league where the rosters are almost completely wiped clean every offseason, and the Bucs have to feel confident looking down from just a half game out of first (as of writing) on the Pilots who are sub-.500 thus far.
Of course, the only way to know for sure who the best team is would be to see the two in action in next week’s tournament. This season the Pilots will host the Tuesday and Thursday games, and on Wednesday the Bucs will have the field.
Around The League
Crowley
Andy Crowley

The Goldpanners finish up their seven-game homestand this week, hosting the Chinooks Wednesday and Thursday, then three nights against the Glacier Pilots including a Saturday doubleheader. Then it’s on the road with one against the Bucs on Monday before a trip down to Kenai for a series against the Oilers.
As of Monday night, the Goldpanners held a slim lead in the standings. Rick Reigner ranked second in the league in batting average, hitting .364, while Cody Moffett was first among qualifying pitchers with a 0.57 ERA.
The Chinooks, as mentioned above, will wrap up their set with the Goldpanners on Wednesday and Thursday. Then they’ll split a road/home four-game set with the Miners, playing in the valley on Saturday and Sunday and taking an off-day before hosting the Mat-Su club on Tuesday and Wednesday.
While still dwelling in the league’s basement, the Chinooks were uplifted by a big win over the first-place Goldpanners on Sunday night, defeating them by a final score of 5-4.
As for the Anchorage Bucs, they’re off on Wednesday and Thursday before visiting the Oilers for a three-game set on the 12th through the 14th. Then they’ll host a quick one against the Goldpanners on Monday before opening the Mayor’s Cup series on Tuesday.
Bucs backstop Michael Strentz has raised eyebrows as the league’s best hitter so far. As of the 8th, he’s pacing the league with an impressive .415 batting average and four home runs, while his 18 RBIs is good for second.
christin stewart
Christin Stewart

The Pilots will also have the next two days off before the aforementioned four-game set against the Goldpanners on the 12th-14th, with the Saturday doubleheader. They’re off Monday as they travel home, and then tournament play with the Bucs starts on Tuesday.
San Diego State product and Pilots hurler Michael Robards is leading the league in strikeouts, fanning 31 batters on 26 innings of work.
The Mat-Su Miners will have Thursday and Friday off after wrapping up their home set against the Oilers on Wednesday. Then they’ll head into next week with four against the Chinooks — two at home over the weekend, Monday off, then two in Chugiak on Tuesday and Wednesday.
So far the Miners’ Christin Stewart has been the most productive batter, leading the league with 24 RBIs. His .349 batting average is good enough for third in the ABL as of Monday.
Finally, for the Peninsula Oilers, it’s all home games in Kenai after they finish up their road trip in Palmer on Wednesday. After a travel day, they’ll be back in action at Coral Seymour Park for three against the Bucs through Sunday. Then, after Monday off, they’ll host the Goldpanners for a four-game set.
After completion of play Monday night, the Oilers’ GJ Strauss ranks first in the league with four wins, while his ERA stands at 1.35.
For more updates on the players, past and present, of the Alaska Baseball League, as well as game reports, photos, and breaking news, check out 49thStateHardball.com. I’ve got all the deep analysis on the teams and players that make up the ABL.