Steven Ordorica of the Peninsula Oilers fires a pitch during an 11-5 loss to the Mat-Su Miners on Friday in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Steven Ordorica of the Peninsula Oilers fires a pitch during an 11-5 loss to the Mat-Su Miners on Friday in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Oilers top Chinooks, snap skid

  • By JEREMIAH BARTZ Frontiersman.com
  • Saturday, June 22, 2019 11:48pm
  • Sports

The Peninsula Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid Saturday night with a tight 6-5 Alaska Baseball League victory over the Chugiak/Eagle River Chinooks at Chugiak’s Lee Jordan Field.

The Oilers (6-10) scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a two-run lead, then made it stand — barely — as the Chinooks threatened to come back in the ninth.

Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer, the Oilers lost 11-5 to the Mat-Su Miners to drop their fourth straight, all to the Miners in a series sweep.

The Oilers will play three more road games before returning home, starting today with a 2 p.m. game with the Chinooks. The Oilers continue with a 7 p.m. Monday meeting in Chugiak and a 7 p.m. Tuesday contest in Anchorage with the Bucs.

Skyler Messinger went 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Giancarlo Servin was 2 for 4 and Jaden Fein went 1 for 3 with two RBIs.

Jake Adams started for the Oilers but lasted four innings before Drew Thorpe entered in relief and was credited with the win. Thorpe gave up a run on two walks in the fifth inning, while Adams gave up three runs on one hit and six walks in four innings of work.

Servin pitched three scoreless frames of relief for Peninsula with one hit and three walks and five strikeouts, while Damon Keith earned the save with one inning, giving up a run on two hits and one walk with one strikeout.

The Chinooks led 4-3 entering the sixth inning, but the Oilers got things going with a leadoff single by Messinger. Later, Taylor Johnson scored to tie the game on a wild pitch, then the Oilers took the lead when Jaden Fein was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run. Connor McCord drove in another run on a fielder’s choice knock.

Chugiak loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and got one run on an RBI groundout by J. Paul Fullerton, but Keith was able to end it on a groundout by Daniel Freeman.

The Miners hit the field Friday night riding a six-game winning streak. But Mat-Su head coach Tyler LeBrun said there was still work to be done at the plate. And the Miners answered that call.

“They’re grinding, working on their game,” LeBrun said after Mat-Su notched its seventh straight victory. “We were not hitting the way we want as a team. Entering tonight we were hitting .209 with too many strikeouts.”

Infielder Josh Bristyn enjoyed his best night in a Mat-Su uniform, finishing 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored. The Gonzaga product entered the contest with three hits, two runs and an RBI during his first nine games with the Miners.

“He’s been working on his swing. It was good to see him kind of break out,” LeBrun said.

Damon Keith drove in four of the Oilers’ five runs in the loss. Keith had a two-run triple in the sixth. Connor McCord was 3 for 4 at the plate, with a run. John Mackay recorded two hits and two runs.

Infielder Rickey Martinez also had his first multihit game with the Miners. Martinez was one of three Miners with two hits. Catcher Kody Ruff added two hits, two runs and an RBI. Drew Williamson and Justin Kirby also scored two runs each.

Eight of Mat-Su’s nine starters scored at least a run, and eight of nine also drove in at least a run.

“We’ve been emphasizing putting the ball in play, giving yourself a chance,” LeBrun said.

The Miners also cashed in 10 walks thrown by the Oilers pitching staff.

“We want to keep putting pressure on pitchers, and we took advantage of a lot of walks,” LeBrun said.

Mat-Su did all of its damage in two innings. The Miners batted around in the first, posting an early 5-0 lead. Mat-Su added six runs in the fourth.

Brandon Birdsell earned the win on the mound for Mat-Su, allowing six hits and two earned runs over five innings. The Texas A&M right-hander also fanned six.

The Miners improved to 10-5, an Alaska Baseball League best, and completed the four-game sweep of the Oilers with the win.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

Peninsula Oilers’ Connor McCord takes the throw at first as Mat-Su’s Justin Kirby slides back during an 11-5 loss to the Miners on Friday in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Peninsula Oilers’ Connor McCord takes the throw at first as Mat-Su’s Justin Kirby slides back during an 11-5 loss to the Miners on Friday in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

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