Bucs end Oilers season with ABL playoff blowout

The postseason dreams didn’t last long for the Peninsula Oilers.

With the backs against the wall and facing elimination, the Oilers went quietly with a 15-2 blowout loss to the Anchorage Bucs in a two-game series sweep in the Alaska Baseball League playoffs.

The win for the Bucs sent them to the championship series against the Mat-Su Miners, who clinched a fourth straight trip to the Top of the World Series by defeating the Chugiak Chinooks 5-3 for a two-game sweep.

The loss wrapped the Oilers’ season at 23-23, including the postseason.

Oilers head coach Kyle Brown said the blowout loss to end the season did not put a damper on what was a successful summer behind the scenes.

“I’m proud of the way they played after the hot start, and building a culture of winning,” Brown said in a radio interview on ESPN 1140. “Every day in and day out, they showed up and gave their best effort. I’m just super happy with the effort they put forth.”

The Bucs blasted two home runs along the way to 13 base hits against a weary Oilers staff, led by Jake Vieth’s 2-for-4 day with a three-run homer, and Logan Ehnes’ 1-for-4 outing with a two-run shot. Ehnes notched three runs. Also for Anchorage, J.C. Correa hit 3 for 7 with two runs.

Zach Zalesky went 2 for 3 to lead the Oilers, which finished with seven team hits.

On the mound, team ERA leader Mike Lopez got the start but lasted just 1 2/3 innings after giving up five runs on four hits and four walks, with three strikeouts.

Peninsula coaching staff used its bullpen liberally after dropping into a seven-run deficit in just the fourth inning. Andrew Lopez, Ryan Silva, Bryan Woo, Erickson Fish and Calvin Farris each got time in relief for the Oilers. Fish saw the longest relief outing with 2 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits and five walks with three strikeouts.

Andrew Lopez gave up a run on two hits in 1 1/3 frames, Silva gave up three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 frames, Woo pitched 2/3 of an inning of perfect ball, and Farris closed out the final 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball with two hits.

The Bucs didn’t waste time, scoring two runs in the first inning on a Jace VanDeBrake bases-loaded double.

The Oilers answered immediately in the bottom of the frame with four straight singles by Zach Zalesky, Paul Kunst, Grant Wood and Ryan Koch, the latter two which scored runs to even the score at 2-all.

The Bucs came back with three runs in the second inning to take a 5-2 lead that they wouldn’t give up. Correa put Anchorage ahead on an RBI single, Troy Claunch added a run on an RBI groundout, and Brennan Breaux — Wednesday’s hero with a walkoff single — drew a walk to force in a run.

The Bucs opened it up in the top of the fourth with four runs, starting with a leadoff double by Claunch. Three batters later, Willy Escala notched a two-RBI single, and Ehnes followed it up with a two-run homer to push the lead to 9-2.

The Bucs tacked on six more runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by Vieth’s three-run yard shot.

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