The Peninsula Oilers lost in a close game, 2-1, against the Matsu Miners on Thursday night at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
Casey Rother scored Matsu’s first run in the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, after the Miners held the Oilers to just three hitters for three outs at Kenai’s first at bat.
The Oilers and Miners remained scoreless all the way through the seventh inning, at just a one-run ballgame.
On defense, the Oilers caught Matsu’s Gerard Sweeny stealing — their first CS of the season— as well as made six fly ball outs, five ground outs and a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Kenai was still down 1-0 as they took the field in the bottom of the seventh, when Matsu’s Nick Cirelli hit a home run, their second of the game, with two outs. This pushed the Oilers further behind, 2-0.
The Oilers held defensive pressure, not allowing many Matsu base runners the whole game.
Kenai’s leadoff batter Andrew Sojka found the right center gap for a triple with no outs in the top of the ninth inning, giving the Oilers a chance to come back.
Bryce Marsh couldn’t put himself on base for Kenai, and struck out swinging with Sojka on third base for Kenai’s first out.
John Hanley took a cut with a full count, hitting a hard ground ball and getting himself into the 5-3 out, but scoring Sojka.
Down by just one run at this point in the last inning — with two outs and nobody on base — Ben Grunberg stepped up to the plate, where he hit a hard line drive to the Matsu second baseman for the final out of the game.
The Oilers scored one run on four hits and one defensive error.
The Miners scored two runs on four hits and committed two defensive errors. Both of Matsu’s runs came from solo home runs.
Oilers pitcher Liam Rocha pitched for seven innings. He allowed three hits and two runs, while walking one and striking out five.
Nolan Patterson closed on the mound for the Oilers, pitching one inning. He allowed one hit and zero runs, striking out one.
Sojka batted one for four. Dylan Ditzenberger went one for four and both Bryce Marsh and Owen Christy went one for three.
The Oilers face off against the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.
Kenai is 0-2 in the regular season.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.