Temperatures were cool and the field was wet Wednesday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Park, but the Peninsula Oilers were sizzling in the rain.
The Oilers pounded the Anchorage Bucs 11-3 in a rain-shortened, six-inning Alaska Baseball League affair, belting out 15 base hits along the way and streaking out to a 9-0 lead with a seven-run second inning.
Left-hander Raymond Kerr dominated the first five innings on the mound, shutting out the Bucs with seven strikeouts, while giving up seven hits and zero walks.
The superb performance lowered the lefty’s league-leading ERA to 0.85 and improving his record to 4-1, and with the slick mound he was dealing with, the showcase was nothing short of spectacular.
“Every push off the last two innings I was slipping a bit,” Kerr said. “There were no bristles out there to scrape the mud off.
“It was really wet out there.”
Even so, 56 of Kerr’s 82 total pitches were in for strikes. The southpaw demonstrated his efficiency with a nasty curveball that he said helped fool batters with a downward spiral.
Oilers head coach Jim Dietz said a couple of Detroit Tigers scouts were in attendance and thus the need to give Kerr a full showing gave the club urgency to play an official contest.
“The kid really deserves an opportunity to sign (to a professional club) because he’s 22 and school’s there but he needs to get his career on track,” Dietz said.
Dietz had no reservations about Kerr’s pitching talent in the current ABL scene, saying Kerr was remarkable in the challenging conditions.
“He owns the league right now,” he said.
Because Tuesday’s rained-out contest that was rescheduled to Wednesday was not played earlier in the day, the realigned schedule has the Oilers playing two doubleheaders today and Friday against the Bucs, with game times both days at 5 p.m., before the team heads up north to face the Mat-Su Miners in a four-game series starting Sunday.
With the win Wednesday, the Oilers improved to 13-17, six games behind league leaders Mat-Su (20-12) in fourth place.
The Oilers got hits or RBIs from all nine lineup players, led by Mikey Hoehner and Kellen Strahm, who both went 3 for 3 on the day.
Caleb Hicks capped a long bottom half of the second inning with a two-run homer to build the Peninsula lead to 9-0. The inning started with four straight singles from Nathan Webb, Benjamin Wanger, Ryan Smith and Strahm, leading to a two-run double by Isaac Deveaux that pushed the lead to 5-0.
Thomas Ruddy grounded out to score another run and Mikey Hoehner notched an RBI single before Hicks stepped up and cranked out his home run.
Hoehner had an RBI single to open the scoring in the first and Jeremy Conant had an RBI ground-out.