1963: Stapp Stops With Five Hitter

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BY CHUCK MALLEY
FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS-MINER
June 21, 1963

With a 10:30 p.m. sun painting puffy cumulus clouds a bright orange, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks collected payment for a big loss to the Wichita Rapid-Transit Dreamliners last year by shutting out the hitherto unbeaten Liners, 6-0, before 2,000 fans at Memorial Park last night.

The game marked the prelude to the Midnight Sun Classic to be played here today beginning at 10:30 p.m. and lasting through midnight.  Old Mr. Sol will provide his natural lighting for the game.

Fans 10

Goldpanner hurler John Stapp, who played a leading roll in the Panner’s second place effort in the National Baseball Congress Tourney at Wichita last year, notched the win while allowing the Dreamliners but five singles and fanning 10 of the world champions of non-professional baseball.

The loss was charged to Len Schnittker who was driven from the mound in the fifth inning.  He was relieved by Bob Brunton who was subsequently relieved by Jim Hadley in the eighth in the face of the Goldpanners big bats.  At the start of the game Schnittker was given a ride to the mound on a dog sled with six Huskies yelping and pulling the sled over the grass.  Upon being relieved, however, he walked the long trek to the dugout.

Quick Lead

The Panners were off to a quick 1-0 lead in the second when Bill Brown slapped a ground ball to third and was safe on first after the “midnight sun” flashed in Clyde Girrens eyes causing him to miss the ball entirely.  Brown then went to second on a sacrifice fly to center and came home on Nick Aversa’s single.

The young and anxious Panners never let up after that, pushing three more runs across the plate in the third and the final two runs in the fifth.

The Dreamliners made a serious threat in the third but it was killed by a double play with the bases loaded and one out.  With Jay Drake, Len Schnittkeer and Bill Springfield on the bags, a ground ball was poked to the pitcher who forced Drake at home while Panner catcher Floyd Watson fired to first to get the batter.

Big Bats

The Panners were led at the plate by Gene Neri with a triple, double and single, while Bob Maxwell of the University of Arizona belted two doubles.  Bill Springfield and Drake each rapped two singles apiece for the Dreamliners.

The four-game series now under way here with the Dreamliners represents possibly the best baseball ever put before the Fairbanks fans.  Pomp and ceremony greeted the Wichita team Wednesday night with a parade for the ball players through downtown streets.  Yesterday the Dreamliners took a tour on the Chena and Tanana Rivers.  They are staying at the Fort Wainwright Army base.

When the Liners took the field yesterday, the Kansas State flag was flying in a slight breeze below the American flag on the Memorial Park flag pole.  The Corps of the North rum a bugle ban of Fairbanks added to the excitement generated by the Midnight Sun series between the nation’s first and second best non-professional baseball teams.  A shower chilled the air three hours before game time but the sky cleared for the game.  When the last out was executed by the Panners, the rain began the fall again.

Calkins Impressed

After the first game was completed, Bernie Calkins, owner of the Rapid-Transit Co. of Kansas, was heard to say that he thought Wichita had a top-notch ball club, until he saw the Goldpanners in action.

Fans are expected to fill the ball park today for the Midnight Sun Classic scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. with ceremonies before the game beginning about 8 p.m.

The word going around Fairbanks is that the Dreamliners area “amazed” at the hopitality shown them here and are impressed with beautiful Memorial Park, by far the best ball park in the entire state of Alaska.

Dowling Today

Today the Panners wil go with Dave Dowling on the mound, a boy who in his first game with the Panners, set a National Baseball Congress mark of 24 strikeouts in one game, including 16 in a row, while throwing a no-hitter against the Wainwright Rangers.  The Dreamliner hurler for Friday has not been indicated.

Dreamliners – 000 000 000 – 0 5 2
Goldpanners – 013 020 00x – 6 9 1

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