The Peninsula Oilers treated a large home crowd to an opening night celebration Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark by providing a mix of big hits and defensive fireworks to secure a 4-1 victory over the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
The magic continued Saturday as the Oilers topped the Panners 3-1 to clinch the three-game series victory with a game still to go on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Friday at the plate, the Oilers knocked out nine hits, including four extra-base hits and a batter reaching third on a single and a two-base error.
On defense, it was the quartet of Jimmy Galusky, Jordan Washam, Bennett Oliver and Ted Boeke that sparkled in the Oilers’ infield. Second-baseman Galusky, shortstop Washam and first baseman Oliver combined to turn a pair of double plays that held Fairbanks to a lone run on the night.
“I just stayed back, stayed cool,” Galusky said. “We have some good infielders out here that we’ve recruited that have been good two nights in a row now.”
Galusky played a part on all three double plays, but perhaps his best play came in the bottom of the third while at bat. Galusky blasted a shot to the gap between right and center field, which was dropped and then kicked by Panners right fielder Quin Butler, allowing Galusky to make it to third base with a slide.
“I saw a fastball up in the zone, and I went with it,” Galusky said. “I was about halfway to second when I saw the outfielder kick it, and I decided to go to third.
“Apparently I didn’t have to dive, but I wanted to get a little dirt on my jersey.”
Louisiana State University-Shreveport senior David Diaz earned the win on the mound, tossing the first seven innings with a tidy pitch count of 84. Diaz gave up the one run on seven hits, two walks and six strikeouts. Paul Lujan recorded the save in the final inning with no hits, no walks and one strikeout.
Oilers head coach Kevin Griffin praised his team after the win, and added that Diaz is a player he was happy to see start. Diaz recently graduated from LSU, and with no immediate plans on the horizon, is using this summer with the Oilers to hopefully catch the attention of pro teams.
“He’s just playing on motivation and pride,” Griffin said. “He’s got good stuff, he’s going to be good for us.”
Boeke and Oliver both went 2 for 4 to lead the Oilers on offense. Andrew Carrillo went 3 for 4 to lead Fairbanks at the dish.
The Panners struck first in the third inning, as a single from Renae Martinez dropped into left field to score Carrillo. The inning ended on the first double play of the night, as Galusky tagged Martinez at second base and whipped it to Oliver to record the third out on Brian Lees.
In the bottom of the inning, Galusky reached third on his hit, then tied the game up when he was brought home on a balk by Fairbanks pitcher Ryan Hingst.
Washam followed that up with a double, and scored the go-ahead run on another double by Boeke.
Oliver and Billy Wilson each added to the lead with a run apiece on a passed ball and wild pitch in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
On Saturday, the game was delayed over 30 minutes for field maintenance.
The game was played in memory of Timothy Baumer, a Peninsula Oilers fan and a faithful member of the Oilers board who died December 28 in Anchorage at the age of 57. Baumer had worked for ACS for 24 years, and would have retired in August.
West Virginia University freshman Conner Dotson helped the Oilers to the win with a sterling six innings on the mound, giving up no runs on four hits, four walks and seven strikeouts.
Peninsula’s biggest shakers at the plate on Saturday were Galusky and Washam. Galusky hit 2 for 3 with a run and Washam went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
Washam knocked out a single in the second inning that scored Galusky and catcher Blake Wilfong to put the Oilers up 3-0.
“They came in from day one, and they work hard,” Griffin said about the superb hitting in the third inning. “We’ve been taking (batting practice) and all that, but they get their work in, it’s not party time, and they go home and enjoy themselves.”
“We know they can hit,” Griffin said. “They manage to stretch singles into doubles, so they play hard.”
Oilers 4, Goldpanners 1
Panners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Rnds 2b 4 0 0 0 Wshm ss 4 1 1 0
Crlo 3b 4 1 3 0 Bke 3b 4 0 2 1
Nlsn ss 3 0 0 0 Ruhm lf 3 0 1 0
Vrln 1b 4 0 0 0 Flks rf 3 0 0 0
Mtnz dh 4 0 1 1 Olvr 1b 4 1 2 0
Lees c 4 0 2 0 Diaz dh 3 0 1 0
Rbts cf 4 0 0 0 Wlfg c 3 0 1 0
Btlr rf 3 0 2 0 Glky 2b 3 1 1 0
Shvr lf 2 0 0 0 Wlsn cf 2 1 0 0
Totals 29 4 9 1 Totals 32 1 8 1
Oilers 002 011 00x —4 8 1
Panners 001 000 000 —1 9 1
IP H R ER BB SO
Diaz, W 7.0 7 1 1 2 6
Michel 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
Lujan 1.0 1 0 0 0 1
Hingst, L 5.0 8 3 3 1 5
Cardona 3.0 1 1 1 1 3