Chinooks take 2 of 3 from Oilers

Monday, June 18, 2018 - 09:40
  • Chinooks players Jerron Largusa, left, and Gregory Ozuna congratulate Jordan Wharton after Wharton hit a homerun during the Chinooks’ 2-1 Alaska Baseball League loss to the Peninsula Oilers on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak-Eagle River’s Jordan Wharton blasts a homerun during the Chinooks’ 2-1 Alaska Baseball League loss to the Peninsula Oilers on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak-Eagle River shortstop Gregory Ozuna fields a ground ball during the Chinooks’ 2-1 Alaska Baseball League loss to the Peninsula Oilers on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Jordan Wharton is tearing up the Alaska Baseball League.

The Indiana Wesleyan University and Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks infielder is currently leading the ABL with a .441 batting average and 15 hits through the first nine games of the season. Wharton’s hot start continued during a recent three-game series with the Peninsula Oilers that saw the 6-foot-1 righty from Akron, Ohio pick up six hits, including a homerun.

Wharton’s hot bat helped the Chinooks take two of three games from the first-place Oilers at Lee Jordan Field. On Saturday, Chugiak-Eagle River earned an 8-3 win over the Kenai nine on the strength of three hits by Wharton and two RBIs each from Anthony Forte and Jerron Largusa. Chinooks starter Michael Barker gave up three runs on four hits in five innings of work to improve to 2-1.

On Sunday, the teams split a doubleheader at Lee Jordan Field, with the Oilers scoring the game-winning run in the seventh inning of the first game on a sacrifice fly by Calvin Farris. In the nightcap, Chugiak-Eagle River took advantage of three Peninsula errors in a 5-1 victory. Ozuna had two hits in the victory, with Forte picking up a pair of RBIs. Chinooks starter Anthony Becerra gave up one run in 4 ⅔ innings to earn his first ABL win.

The wins lifted Chugiak-Eagle River to 4-5, while the Oilers dropped to 8-4.

Wharton isn’t the only offensive star off to a hot start in the collegiate summer league. Through their first nine games, the Chinooks have four players hitting over .300, including Seth Ballenger (.346), Ozuna (.314) and Bailey Collins (.303).

The team’s pitching staff has also produced some standout performances, with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee righty Jared Reklaitis second in the league with 18 strikeouts. In his first three starts, Reklaitis is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Chinooks reliever Andrew Almquist has also been mowing down hitters at a prodigious clip, striking out 12 batters through his first 8 ⅓ innings while allowing just two hits and one walk.

Chugiak-Eagle River’s upcoming schedule includes a Monday clash with the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. at Lee Jordan Field. On Tuesday, Chugiak-Eagle River will travel to Palmer for a doubleheader against the Mat-Su Miners before embarking on a five-day, five-game road trip to Kenai.

Chugiak-Eagle River returns to the Anchorage area June 25 for one game against the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy Stadium before returning to Chugiak for a four-game homestand against the Miners and Oilers June 27-30.

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