An Alaskan won even if the Alaska team lost Thursday night in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.
Juneau's Rob Conway was hitless in his NBC World Series debut, but his Nevada (Mo.) Griffons still came out on top with a 4-2 victory over the fourth-seeded Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
The Goldpanners outhit the Griffons 11-8 and rallied for a run in the ninth inning, but Fairbanks stranded 14 men on the basepaths and allowed two runs to score on errors.
The Griffons will play the Seguin (Texas) Steelers in a winners' bracket game Saturday, while the five-time NBC champion Goldpanners drop to the losers' bracket tonight against the El Dorado (Kan.) Broncos. The other Alaska League team in the tournament, the three-time champion and defending NBC runner-up Peninsula Oilers of Kenai, open tournament play tonight. Kenai is the second seed in the tournament. Both Kenai and Fairbanks had first-round byes. Conway, a 1996 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate and the current Iowa State University third baseman, recently joined the unseeded Griffons just for the NBC World Series as a designated hitter-third baseman. The Griffons play in the Kansas-based Jayhawk League, but Conway spent this summer playing for the Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolina Sox of the Southeastern Collegiate League. Conway was hitting .383 in midJuly when he was invited to play in the SECL's all-star game.
The Griffons opened the 32team, double-elimination tournament with a 5-3 victory over the Triangle (Texas) Copperheads last Saturday in the first round of the tournament, but Conway didn't play. On Thursday, Conway played designated hitter and batted cleanup, going 0-for-4. He grounded into a double play in the first inning, grounded out to short in the third, hit a pop foul to first in the fifth and flew out to left in the seventh.
Nevada took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a pair of unearned runs, then added another run in the third when Michael Artman scored on a single by Mark Teahan. Fairbanks scored a run in the fifth when Jonah Martin scored on a throwing error, but Nevada made it 4-1 in the sixth with an RBI double by Drew Topham that scored Mick Weiss with his second run of the game.
Fairbanks scored once in the ninth as Greg Dobbs singled home Brooks Conrad, and the Goldpanners continued to threaten with runners on first and third. But Fairbanks' top power hitter, Greg Sain, lined out to short to end the game.