FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) - Over 113 years you would figure Alaska’s Midnight Sun baseball game had seen it all, but those late nights tend to do something weird to people.
Just ask Fairbanks Goldpanners' Nyles Nygaard facing a full count in the bottom of the ninth inning. The third baseman hit a walk-off home run over the left field wall at 12:50 a.m. Friday morning, and the Panners beat the Orange County Surf 6-4.
“I don’t even remember that at bat,” said Nygaard after the game. “I was just swing hard, and win for my team.”
The Alaska Goldpanners say this was the first walk-off home run in the Midnight Sun Game in recent history, and also the first game-winning home run of Nygaard’s life.
“I’ve never done that in my career,” said Nygaard.
Nothing like a little foreshadowing, before the game Nygaard discussed how excited he was to play in front of thousands of people.
“Playing baseball your whole life you love playing in front of big crowds, I mean the stadium is pretty big playing in front of all the people tonight,” said Nygaard before the game.
Goldpanners estimate a crowd of 4,500 people at the Thursday night, Friday morning baseball game.
Nygaard’s home run was an exclamation point to an already incredible personal game going 3-5 at the plate with three runs batted in.
The recent college graduate of Western Oregon University says he is current looking for employment, and hopes to land a job playing professional baseball in the independent leagues.