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ABL closes out 2017, looks ahead to next season

By Dave Leval Photojournalist: Dave Leval - 7:19 PM August 9, 2017
Palmer –

The Mat-Su Miners celebrate their second straight Alaska Baseball League title with their win over the Anchorage Bucs.

It doesn’t get better than this, especially for hometown players, like Wasilla’s Nolan Monaghan.

“Nah, it doesn’t, winning it all is pretty awesome,” said Monaghan, who pitched for the Miners.

The celebration officially brings an end to the 2017 season for the five-team league. Next year could bring a couple of changes– most notably, a sixth team.

The Alaska Goldpanners wrapped up their second season as an independent team. They left the ABL after 2015 to try and improve their chances to qualify for the National Baseball Congress World Series in Kansas. That decision increased their travel costs. The team’s general manager told KTVA Sports back in June, the Goldpanners appear to be homesick.

“I would like to come back to the ABL. The numbers would have to work for everybody, certainly for us, as well,” said Goldpanners President John Lohrke.

Easier said than done, at least where the Miners are concerned.

“They left us high and dry once– will they do it again? That’s what we have to discuss,” said Miners General Manager Pete Christopher.

He and other general managers had to come up with more money to cover the extra travel expenses to cover the Goldpanners’ departure. There are still some bad feelings, but, there’s a chance the team could rejoin the league.

“Under different circumstances than before, yeah,” Christopher said when asked if he would agree to the Goldpanners’ return.

Meanwhile, the Mat-Su Miners celebrate their third league title since 2010. There may soon be another reason to celebrate, the return of the ABL’s sixth team.

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