Mat-Su Miners infielder Austin Dennis steals third base, sliding into the bag behind Peninsula third baseman Nathan Webb during a 2-1 win over the Oilers on Thursday afternoon at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. With the win, the Miners swept the best-of-three first-round series and move into the Alaska Baseball League Top of the World Series, which starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Hermon Brothers Field. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Mat-Su Miners infielder Austin Dennis steals third base, sliding into the bag behind Peninsula third baseman Nathan Webb during a 2-1 win over the Oilers on Thursday afternoon at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. With the win, the Miners swept the best-of-three first-round series and move into the Alaska Baseball League Top of the World Series, which starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Hermon Brothers Field. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Oilers end season with loss to Miners

  • By Jeremiah Bartz
  • Friday, August 4, 2017 12:13am
  • Sports

PALMER — Ryan Smith and the Peninsula Oilers tried to steal a win. Mat-Su left fielder Elijah MacNamee stole the show.

With both the game-tying and go-ahead runner in scoring position with two outs as the Oilers played as the home team in the bottom of the ninth, Miners closer Josh Green delivered a pitch. Smith reached out and tapped a soft fly ball that began to tail off into the left center field gap.

As the Oilers base runners made their dash toward home, MacNamee stretched out to make a diving catch to preserve Mat-Su’s 2-1 victory over the Oilers on Thursday afternoon at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.

“Elijah MacNamee is as good as a left fielder, an outfielder, as we’ve had in five years up here,” Mat-Su head coach Ben Taylor said after a win that pushed the Miners into the Alaska Baseball League Top of the World Series championship set for the fourth straight year. “Every out is going to be contested. You never know in this game.”

MacNamee’s SportsCenter-worthy play in left helped Green record a save for the second straight day, and the Miners sweep the Oilers in the best-of-three semifinals set.

“I know I made a good pitch and then he squibs one out there,” Green said after the game. “It’s like, they’re going to win it on a squibber. And then Mac comes flying through and saves the day.”

Green, who led the ABL with seven saves during the regular season, hit the mound with two on and one out in the ninth.

“We had to do it. He’s the best closer in the league,” Taylor said of the Southeastern Louisiana product who was named first-team All-ABL.

Texas A&M incoming sophomore John Doxakis earned the win on the mound, pitching eight strong innings for the Miners.

“Absolutely fantastic,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t ask for more.”

Doxakis scattered four hits and allowed one earned run. He fanned six, didn’t walk a batter and didn’t allow a Peninsula hit until Paul Kunst reached on a bunt in the fourth.

“He just threw a ton of strikes. He had all of his pitches going, and threw a ton of strikes,” Taylor said. “The guy’s got a bright future at A&M to be a top of the rotation type guy. He showed that tonight.”

The work of Doxakis on the mound also helped Mat-Su get a win against Peninsula’s ace, lefty Raymond Kerr. Pitching on just three days rest, Kerr allowed six hits and two earned runs. Kerr, an All-ABL selection, struck out five and walked two.

Infielder Brandon Chinea, hitting ninth in the lineup, led the Miners at the plate. Chinea was 3 of 4, and hit a key two-run single in the top of the fourth. In the second, with two runners on, Chinea hit a long fly ball that was just foul. He eventually flew out to end the inning.

In the fourth, with two runners on once again, Chinea sharply skipped a ball into center field. Ryan Haug and Nick Brooks both scored to give the Miners the 2-1 lead.

“That kid, he’s really grown up this summer and matured,” Taylor said of the Miami, Florida, native and University of Tennessee product. “We’re really lucky to have him on our side.”

Brooks, batting seventh, finished 2 for 2 with a walk and run scored.

“The story, other than Doxakis, was the bottom of the lineup,” Taylor said. “They were on base all day, scored runs, drove in runs and gave us tough at-bats.”

The Oilers scored their lone run in the bottom of the sixth. Smith singled to left field and was moved forward by a Kellen Strahm sacrifice bunt. Smith scored from second when Kunst reached on a Mat-Su error.

The Oilers used two hits in the bottom the ninth to set up the opportunity to try to steal the win and force a third game in the series. Jack Bauer led off the inning with a single. Caleb Hicks followed with a double to put runners on second and third.

Defending league champion Mat-Su now hosts the Anchorage Bucs in the championship series, which starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. Game 2 of the best-of-three set is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. A third game, if necessary, would follow. The second-seeded Bucs swept the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the other semifinal series.

Mat-Su won the regular season series against the Bucs.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

Peninsula infielder Caleb Hicks gets the force at second and makes the throw to first to complete a double play early during a 2-1 loss to the Mat-Su Miners in the Alaska Baseball League best-of-three semifinals Thursday afternoon at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. The Oilers were eliminated with the loss. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Peninsula infielder Caleb Hicks gets the force at second and makes the throw to first to complete a double play early during a 2-1 loss to the Mat-Su Miners in the Alaska Baseball League best-of-three semifinals Thursday afternoon at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. The Oilers were eliminated with the loss. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

More in Sports

tease
Soldotna volleyball tops Homer

The Soldotna volleyball team went on the road to notch a 3-1… Continue reading

tease
Colony swimmers sweep Kenai Invite

The Colony girls and boys swimming and diving teams swept the Kenai… Continue reading

tease
Brown Bears take series from Jets

The visiting Kenai River Brown Bears defeated the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets 4-3… Continue reading

tease
CIA coed soccer finishes perfect in conference

The Cook Inlet Academy coed soccer team won home games Friday and… Continue reading

tease
Homer volleyball defeats Seward

The Homer volleyball team improved to 2-1 in the Southcentral Conference and… Continue reading

Kenai Central quarterback Bridger Beck throws under pressure from Houston's Keldin Nicoll on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Houston gets 1st victory in program history at Kenai

The scary thing for the rest of Division III is the Kenai… Continue reading

Soldotna's Wyatt Faircloth rushes against Wasilla on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna football rolls past Wasilla, stays perfect

Another trip to the Mat-Su, and another big win for the Soldotna… Continue reading

Homer’s Carter Tennison runs with the ball, pursued by Nikiski’s Drake Brankel, on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Homer football comes back to defeat Nikiski

Homer won out in a nonconference match in Nikiski on Friday. The… Continue reading

tease
Seward volleyball tops Nikiski

The host Seward volleyball team topped Nikiski 26-24, 25-23, 21-25 and 25-19… Continue reading

Most Read