Garrett Pennington of the Peninsula Oilers singles against the Mat-Su Miners on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Garrett Pennington of the Peninsula Oilers singles against the Mat-Su Miners on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Miners nip Oilers in rain-shortened game

Staff report

The Mat-Su Miners defeated the Peninsula Oilers 2-1 on Wednesday in Alaska Baseball League action in a game shortened to five innings due to rain.

The Miners won the series 4-1, but rain also could be considered a victor in the matchup.

The series was originally scheduled for nine-inning games Saturday through Wednesday, but the games Saturday and Sunday were rained out. That led to doubleheaders consisting of seven-inning games Monday and Tuesday.

With Wednesday’s shortened game, the teams only got in 33 of the planned 45 innings in the series.

The Miners improve to 10-6 and lead the league by a half game over the Chugiak Chinooks. The Anchorage Bucs, who were playing the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Wednesday as the Clarion went to press, are in third at 7-5.

The Pilots are in fourth at 5-7 and are 2.5 games ahead of the Oilers (3-10) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the league.

With rain falling from the opening pitch and not fully stopping during any point in the game, early runs took on extra importance.

Mat-Su struck first in the third inning off Oilers starter and loser Liam Rocha. Jordan Williams led off with a double, then scored on a single by David Bermudez. Bermudez eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Rocha pitched five innings and gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits while walking none and striking out four.

The Oilers had plenty of chances to cut into the lead, leaving 10 runners on base in five innings compared to just two for the Miners. Miners winner Lance Santerre held Peninsula off the board for four innings, allowing four hits while walking one and striking out five.

Peninsula got to work on reliever Nate Beimel in the fifth. With one away, Garrett Pennington singled, then Henry Novicki and Cole Hage walked to load the bases.

Andrew Sojka cut the gap to 2-1 with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Pennington and moved Novicki to third base.

With the rain falling harder and harder, Alex Magers relieved Nate Beimel. Beimel was able to keep the Miners ahead by coaxing Dylan Ditzenberger to ground out. Beimel earned the save for his efforts.

The Oilers remain at Seymour Park for a five-game series against the Anchorage Bucs, starting Friday at 7 p.m.

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