Oilers finish season with DH split with Pilots

The Peninsula Oilers capped their regular season with a Saturday doubleheader split with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at Coral Seymour Memorial Park, losing the opener 5-4 before returning to win the nightcap with an identical score of 5-4.

The result ended the Oilers summer season with a regular season record of 23-21, third in the Alaska Baseball League standings, with just the postseason to play. The Oilers are currently 3 1/3 games behind the league-leading Mat-Su Miners (26-17), and while the Oilers are done with their regular season, other teams still have games Sunday and Monday.

In Saturday’s opener, all nine runs came in a wild sixth inning of action, as the Pilots took a 5-0 lead, only to see the Oilers nearly complete a rally.

Anchorage’s Breydon Daniel opened the scoring with a two-out RBI double for the Pilots, and Marc Mumper and Dominic Foscalina both followed with RBI singles for a 3-0 Pilots lead.

Oilers reliever Andrew Lopez issued a walk to load the bases, and Elliott Curtis capitalized with a two-run single.

In the bottom of the frame, the Oilers answered with a three-run blast by Chad Bible that cleared the outfield wall. Bible’s homer was preceded by leadoff singles from Paul Kunst and Zack Zalesky.

Grant Wood followed it up with a double, but was later tagged out at home plate on a fielder’s choice hit by Ryan Novis.

An RBI groundout by Calvin Farris scored another run for the Oilers, closing the gap to one run, but they would get no further.

Christian Winston took the loss on the mound with 5 2/3 innings of six-hit action. Winston gave up four runs and walked two with two strikeouts.

Lopez finished with two strikeouts and two walks and two hits in 1 1/3 frames.

Bible’s three-run shot was one of six Oilers hits on the day, but also the biggest.

In the second game, the Oilers rallied from an early 4-2 hole to spring the victory, while Peninsula pitching held the Pilots to just two hits overall.

Bret Ricklefs, making his first start of the year after spending the summer as a closer, went two innings and gave up four runs on one hit and three walks, while whiffing one.

From there, the Oilers staff shut the Pilots down. Justin Jaime and Erickson Fish combined to go five innings with just one hit and two walks, while whiffing three. Jaime got the win and Fish was credited with the save. Fish recorded 25 strikes on 32 total pitches.

The Oilers took an early 2-0 lead on a fielder’s choice hit by Brian Leonhardt that scored one run and brought in another on a bobble by Pilots second baseman Jake Cosgrove.

The Pilots answered in the top of the second with a bases-clearing double by Grant Parker that put Anchorage ahead 3-2, and added another run on a sac fly by Alex Stiegler.

The Oilers closed it up in the bottom half with a pair of Pilots errors for a 4-3 ballgame, then tied it up in the third inning with an RBI double by Evan Berkey.

A Calvin Farris single provided the go-ahead run for the Oilers, which allowed the Peninsula bullpen to do its job the rest of the way.

Koch and Berkey led the offense with a pair of doubles, as Koch finished 1 for 2 and Berkey went 1 for 3, each with a run.

The results of Sunday and Monday’s ABL action will determine who the third-seeded Oilers will play in the ABL postseason, as the Miners and Anchorage Bucs battle for the top seed. The Oilers will travel on the road for the best-of-three series next week.

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