The Peninsula Oilers capped a 10-game road trip Saturday by losing a doubleheader to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Field.
The Oilers lost the first game 2-1, and finished the weekend with a 7-2 loss in the second contest, leaving Peninsula 5-5 in Alaska Baseball League play and 8-9 overall. The Oilers went 4-6 on the road, and will hope to pick things up against the Pilots back at home Monday evening.
In the opening seven-inning contest, both teams headed into extra innings tied at one apiece. In the bottom of the 10th, the Pilots lofted the ball into shallow right field, where Brian Ruhm and Marshall Boggs zeroed in on what appeared to be a pop fly to end the inning. Ruhm caught the ball momentarily, but the collision with Boggs jarred it loose, allowing the Pilots to score the winning run from second base.
Dom Bazzani started for the Oilers and went 6 1-3 innings, giving up one run on nine hits and two walks, while striking out five. Ryan Lillie struck out one and walked one in 1 2-3 frames of scoreless relief.
Boggs went 2 for 4 with a double to lead the Peninsula offense.
In the nightcap, the Pilots built up a 5-0 lead with two runs in the bottom of the second, one in the fourth and two in the fifth. The Oilers finally answered by plating two runs in the sixth frame, but Anchorage tacked on two more in the bottom of the inning to ice the game, even while committing four errors.
The Oilers had eight base hits to the Pilots’ nine.
Zack Hamilton took the loss on the mound for the Oilers, going 4 2-3 innings and giving up five runs (three earned) on three hits, including a pair of doubles, and six walks on hit batters.
Darius Hill hit 3 for 4 to lead the Oilers at the plate.
Miners 5, Oilers 3
PALMER — During Mat-Su’s first three meetings of the season against the Peninsula Oilers, the Miners managed to score just one run. But Friday, the Miners found a way to push runners across the plate.
The Miners drew seven walks, moved runners with the bunt and used a few timely hits to earn a win over the Oilers on Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
“When you’re not scoring runs in bunches, you’ve got to manufacture a little bit,” Mat-Su head coach Ben Taylor said after the victory. “Luckily we’ve got some guys who can play that style.”
Scooter Bynum led the Miners with a pair of runs. Levi Jordan, Garrison Schwartz and Tyler Wyatt also scored runs to help Mat-Su improve to 7-5 overall and move back into a first-place tie with the Oilers at the top of the Alaska Baseball League as of Friday.
“It feels good to come back and show them who we truly are,” Mat-Su catcher Tyler Wyatt said of scoring a win over Peninsula after three losses to the Oilers this season.
Wyatt said Mat-Su’s success Friday versus the first three meetings simply comes down to the Miners taking care of things at the plate.
“Baseball is always a chess match. Little things here and there that add up to runs,” Wyatt said. “Those little things we didn’t do the last time we played them.”
Wyatt said Mat-Su’s ability to move baserunners with small ball wasn’t a preconceived game plan, but rather an in-game adjustment.
“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing,” Wyatt said. “Whatever you can do to get a run, that’s what you do. Small ball, hitting in the gaps, however you can do it.”
The Miners used both to plate their first run of the day.
Bynum led off the third inning with a walk and advanced to second on an A.J. Lee sacrifice bunt. Jordan followed with a shot into the gap in the outfield, and Bynum scored from second base to tie the score at 1.
“That was big for us, a big spark. Guys fed off it,” Taylor said of the Jordan double.
Late in the inning, Jordan gave Mat-Su its first lead over Peninsula this season when he scored on a Michael Donadio single.
Mat-Su used small ball again in the fourth to extend its lead. Schwartz led off the inning with a walk and Wyatt followed by putting down a bunt, and reached on an error. Bynum singled to load the bases. Lee tapped a ball right in front of the plate with the bases loaded, and Schwartz scored.
Later in the inning, Wyatt and Bynum both scored on a Brooks Stotler single.
In the eighth, with the Miners leading 5-3, Wyatt was part of a play at the plate that helped Mat-Su maintain momentum. With two Oilers on and one out, Miners reliever Gage Burland fired a wild pitch high that bounced off the fence in front of the grandstand behind home plate. One of the Oilers base runners, Austin Piscotty, sprinted from second base, rounded third and headed for home as Wyatt chased the loose ball.
Burland managed to get to the plate, Wyatt made the throw and Burland defended the plate to get the tag.
“I heard people behind me in the stands saying, he’s going, he’s going,” Wyatt said. “(Gage) saw him rounding third. He knew he needed to cover home plate.”
Wyatt said it definitely was a big out for the Miners.
“It’s huge. It kept it at a two-run lead,” Wyatt said.
Burland followed by forcing Alex Seifert to fly out to end the inning.
Seifert gave Peninsula the early lead, scoring on a Seth DeWitt single in the top of the third inning to give the Oilers the 1-0 lead. The Oilers added a run in both the fifth and seventh innings. DeWitt drove in his second run of the game in the fifth inning, using a single to send Darius Hill home. In the seventh, DeWitt doubled and scored on a Shih-Tsung Wang double.
Bynum led Mat-Su at the plate, finishing 2 for 2 with two runs scored. DeWitt was 3 for 5 with two RBI and a run to lead the Oilers.
Justin Vernia earned the win on the mound for Mat-Su, scattering eight hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Justin Montgomery was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs, three earned, over 4 1/3 innings. Montgomery walked six.
Friday marked the first time this season Mat-Su scored a run against Peninsula during regulation baseball. The Oilers blanked Mat-Su in back-to-back games to start the season. Thursday, Mat-Su didn’t score until the 10th inning of a 2-1 loss to Peninsula.
“It was good to bounce back after (Thursday),” Taylor said.
Frontiersman.com Jeremiah Bartz contributed to this report
Miners 5, Oilers 3
Oilers AB R H BI Miners AB R H BI
Sfrt 3b 5 1 1 0 Stlr cf 4 0 1 2
Rhm rf 3 0 1 0 Jrdn 2b 4 1 1 1
DWt dh 5 1 3 2 Scdr 1b 2 0 1 0
Wng 1b 3 0 1 1 Ddio dh 3 0 1 1
Mllr ph 1 0 0 0 Bste ss 4 0 0 0
Bgs 2b 4 0 1 0 Srtz rf 1 1 0 0
Wfrd lf 4 0 1 0 Wyt c 3 1 0 0
Pcty ss 4 0 2 0 Bnm lf 2 2 2 0
Hbr c 2 0 1 0 Lee 3b 3 0 0 1
Hill cf 4 1 1 0 —- — — — —
Totals 35 3 12 3 Totals 26 5 6 5
Peninsula 001 010 100 —3
Miners 002 300 00X —5
2B — Wang. SH — Wyatt, Lee. SB — Ruhm. CS — Stotler, Bynum. E — Ruhm, Piscotty, Huber, Montgomery. LOB — Oilers 10, Miners 7. DP — Oilers 3.
IP H R ER BB SO
Montgomery, L 4 1-3 4 5 4 6 1
Bash 3 2-3 2 0 0 1 4
Vernia, W 5 1-3 8 2 2 4 1
Vega 1 2-3 2 1 1 0 1
Burland 1 1 0 0 1 0
Floyd, S 1 1 0 0 0 0
WP — Vega, Burland.
T — 3:09.