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Friday: Oilers top Chinooks, clinch spot in playoffs

The Peninsula Oilers defeated the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks 4-3 on Friday in Alaska Baseball League play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Harrison Metz, a product of Homer High School and the American Legion Twins program, picked up the win for the Oilers as they clinched a spot in the Top of the World Series playoffs.

The Mat-Su Miners lead the league at 21-16, while the Anchorage Glacier Pilots (20-16) and the Anchorage Bucs (21-17) are each a half game back.

The Oilers, who now lead the season series against the Chinooks 6-1, sit 3.5 games back at 17-19, while the Chinooks are eight games back at 13-24.

The top four teams make the playoffs. The only games left on the schedule for the Chinooks and Oilers are a Saturday game at 6 p.m. and Sunday game at 2 p.m., both at Seymour Park.

The teams also have a rainout that could be made up, if necessary.

Through July 14, Metz had pitched just 4 1-3 innings for the Oilers.

Starting July 22, he started getting the rust off, giving up eight runs — seven earned — in three innings against the Pilots.

He said after the Pilots game he thought getting on the mound more regularly would help him out.

Wednesday, Metz pitched a scoreless inning against the Chinooks for the save.

Then Friday, he went eight innings, giving up three runs — two earned — on two hits while striking out two. Metz walked three and hit three.

The Chinooks went up 2-0 in the top of the second inning on a two-run home run by Francis Segarra.

The Oilers answered with two runs in similarly stirring fashion in the bottom of the third.

Ryson Ujimori led off with a triple, then scored on a throwing error on the attempt to get Ujimori at third. Ujimori finished 2 for 3.

The next batter up — Owen McElfatrick — got to round the bases in more leisurely fashion when he planted a ball over the outfield wall. McElfatrick finished 2 for 4.

After that, Chinooks starter Nathan Riddle matched Metz pitch for pitch in taking the hard-luck loss.

Riddle went eight innings and gave up four runs — two earned — on eight hits while walking one and striking out one.

The Chinooks took the lead in the fifth when Michael Kelly reached on an error and eventually scored.

The Chinooks defense returned the favor in the bottom of the eighth, allowing the Oilers to win the game with two unearned runs.

Nick Costello started the inning by reaching on an error. He would score on a grounder by Michael Elko, while Leighton Helfrick scored the winning run on a single by Cole Nachreilner.

Nachreilner, a catcher, joined the team Thursday. The Oilers started the season with four catchers, and three had to go home due to injury.

Josiah Chavez, the last catcher standing, must leave the team due to a prior commitment.

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