The Peninsula Oilers moved into a first-place tie in the Alaska Baseball League American League with a 4-3 victory over the Anchorage Bucs on Monday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Oilers snapped a seven-game losing streak, including losing five straight in the league.
Peninsula and the Bucs are now tied atop the American League with 13-13 league records.
The two squads continue a six-game, five-day engagement at Seymour Park with a 5 p.m. doubleheader today.
Conner Dotson gave the Oilers a big boost with a solid start, keeping the Bucs scoreless on three hits over the first six innings.
In a postgame interview on 1140 AM, Dotson said he was locating his fastball well. That pitch allowed him to pitch around the fact that he had trouble throwing his curve for a strike early in the game.
By the time Dotson left the game after the sixth, the Oilers had a 4-0 lead thanks to an offense that produced 12 hits in the game.
Bennett Oliver was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles for the Oilers, meaning he now leads the ABL in doubles with 11.
“I changed my approach a little bit with two strikes, just widened out and shortened up,” Oliver said in a postgame radio interview. “I’ve been striking out a little too much. I think it helped me. I got to see the ball up a little bit and found some holes, finally.”
Brian Ruhm, Brent Diaz and Alex Seifert each had two hits for the Oilers, with Diaz notching a double and Seifert legging out a triple.
The Oilers jumped on the board first in the third inning, when Oliver led off the inning with a double and was bunted to third by Ted Boeke. Ruhm then grounded to short to score Oliver.
In the fourth, the Oilers moved the lead to 2-0 when Jimmy Galusky had a two-out single to score James Fowlkes, who had stolen second base with two away.
In the fifth, Oliver again led off with a double. Boeke was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, and a single by Ruhm then loaded the bases with nobody out.
Diaz then doubled to score Oliver and Boeke, move the score to 4-0 and chase Bucs starter and loser Eric Dunbar.
“I just got into a positive count, 2-0, and I just tried to put a positive swing off and fortunately my approach at the plate helped and we got two RBIs as a team,” Diaz said in a postgame radio interview. “That’s what’s important.”
Brandon VanStone came on in relief for Dotson in the seventh and was solid for two innings before the Bucs rallied in the ninth.
With two outs and two on, Dylan Butler cranked a home run to cut the gap to 4-3.
Paul Lujan came in for VanStone and needed just three pitches to record the strikeout and the save.