Peninsula Oilers infielder Josh Congdon gets ready to make the tag as Mat-Su’s Blake Benefield slides toward second base during a 2-1 win over the Miners Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Peninsula Oilers infielder Josh Congdon gets ready to make the tag as Mat-Su’s Blake Benefield slides toward second base during a 2-1 win over the Miners Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Friday: Oilers defeat defending ABL champion Miners

  • By Jeremiah Bartz
  • Sunday, July 9, 2017 12:55am
  • Sports

PALMER — Sometimes a simple bounce can help decide the outcome.

Peninsula Oilers outfielder Thomas Ruddy scored on a passed ball in the top of the fourth inning to provide the eventual game-winning run during a 2-1 win over the Miners Friday night at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.

The run came after a swing that could have ended the inning. With two outs and two on, Mat-Su starter John Doxakis got Peninsula’s Caleb Hicks to swing at the third strike, but the ball took a bounce and made its way to the backstop behind home plate. With two strikes and two outs, Ruddy was running on the play. Ruddy was able to round third and beat the throw back to home.

“That’s baseball,” Mat-Su head coach Ben Taylor said after the loss. “Sometimes the ball hits the plate and stays in front, sometimes it hits the plate and goes to the screen and doesn’t go our way.”

Doxakis and reliever Austin Dennis combined to allow only one earned run in the game, but three Peninsula pitchers scattered four hits to help the Oilers improve to 9-14 in Alaska Baseball League play, seven games behind the league-leading Miners (18-9). The win helped the Oilers climb out of the last-place spot in the standings, which is now occupied by the Chugiak Chinooks (10-16).

Saturday’s game between the two teams was postponed early after steady rains washed out the day’s activities. The contest was rescheduled for July 25, giving the Oilers and Miners a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. at Hermon Brothers Field.

Friday evening, Raymond Kerr earned the win on the mound for the Oilers, giving up one run on four hits and one walk in six innings of work, while striking out four.

Billy Clemens and Michael LaBeau pitched three innings of scoreless, hitless relief for the Oilers. LaBeau was credited with the save, his first of the summer.

Nathan Webb continued to provide the power for the Oilers, raking his third home run of the summer with a solo blast to lead off the second inning. Webb finished 2 for 4, including a double, while six other Oilers notched a hit. Josh Congdon also had a double.

The Oilers also stranded nine men on base.

Dennis, a two-way player for the Miners who works in the infield and on the mound, allowed only three hits and struck out four during four innings of work.

“The guy is a real fierce competitor,” Taylor said. “That dude really wants to win. He’s a real addition and asset to this club. He does a good job at the plate, plays all over the diamond for us and he’s a tough little bulldog on the mound for us.”

Doxakis struck out seven and walked only one. He allowed five hits and one earned run.

Webb gave Peninsula the early lead in the top of the second, driving a solo shot over the left field fence. Ruddy added to that advantage in the fourth.

The Miners were able to cut the lead in half in the sixth. Quinn Cotton reached on an error and scored on a Blake Benefield single to bring the Miners within a run. Benefield led Mat-Su with two of its four hits.

Peninsula Clarion reporter Joey Klecka also contributed to this story.

Mat-Su pitcher John Doxakis falls over Peninsula Oilers outfielder Thomas Ruddy after Doxakis reached up to snag a high throw as Ruddy slides into home to score the go-ahead run during a 2-1 victory over the Miners Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Mat-Su pitcher John Doxakis falls over Peninsula Oilers outfielder Thomas Ruddy after Doxakis reached up to snag a high throw as Ruddy slides into home to score the go-ahead run during a 2-1 victory over the Miners Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

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