They had to be patient for it, but the wait was worth it Thursday night for the Peninsula Oilers.
The Oilers notched a clean 6-0 victory over the Chugiak Chinooks at Lee Jordan Field, led by the sterling pitching performance by Soldotna product Joey Becher.
Becher sparkled on the mound with a scoreless 4 2-3 innings of one-hit ball to earn his first Alaska Baseball League win as a starting pitcher. Becher struck out three and walked one of 19 batters he faced.
“I was able to locate my fastball today, outside and low,” Becher explained in a postgame radio interview on 1140 AM. “I was working on throwing a (breaking ball) on the first strike and getting swings and misses.”
With the win, the Oilers leapfrogged the Chinooks in the ABL standings, helping themselves out of last place at 12-17 and 6 1/2 games behind the league-leading Mat-Su Miners (20-12).
The game was delayed by about an hour as rain soaked the field prior to the first pitch.
“The rain delay kind of sucked,” Becher said. “I keep a hoodie on, tried not to get too antsy. It’s something I struggle with, I like to get out there and warm up.”
Matthew LaCosta and Jeremy Conant led the scoring attack for the Oilers, as LaCosta finished 2 for 3 and Conant notched a timely RBI single in the top of the fifth to give Peninsula a 2-0 lead.
The Oilers ended up scoring four runs in the fifth, beginning with an intentional walk to Thomas Ruddy to load the bases with one out. Josh Congdon then drew a walk to force in a run, putting Peninsula up 1-0. After Conant’s single scored a second run, Ryan Smith forced in a run on another bases-loaded walk, and Mikey Hoehner hit into fielder’s choice to bring in a fourth run.
The Chinooks ended up walking five Oilers in the inning.
Michael LeBeau pitched a clean three-batter ninth inning to secure the win.
The Oilers will take on the Miners and the Anchorage Glacier Pilots this weekend before the ABL All-Star festivities begin Sunday. The Oilers face the Miners today at 1 p.m. and the Pilots Saturday at 4 p.m.