Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Oilers third baseman Jeffrey Chapuran (center, hand on head) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walk-off home run against the Chugiak Chinooks on Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Oilers third baseman Jeffrey Chapuran (center, hand on head) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walk-off home run against the Chugiak Chinooks on Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Oilers ready to take on Pilots

As a general rule, baseball people aren’t big fans of the rain.

But Peninsula Oilers head coach Brian Daly will be the first to admit he didn’t recoil in horror from the showers that blanketed the Kenai Peninsula on Thursday.

The Oilers were supposed to take on the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Thursday in the first game of a three-game Alaska Baseball League postseason series at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

But with Thursday’s rain, the series is now just one game, scheduled for 3 p.m. today at Seymour Park.

The Mat-Su Miners and Anchorage Bucs were actually able to play their opener, with the host Miners notching a 4-1 victory Thursday.

“As far as the game getting canceled today, it was a blessing in disguise,” Daly said. “It was a gift getting the day off.

“The way we held up during the road trip was phenomenal.”

The reason the Oilers are hosting the series is they finished second in the ABL, just one game ahead of the Pilots.

That second-place finish was made possible by a gritty 5-5 finish on a season-ending road trip that saw the Oilers play 10 games in six days.

“We clearly would have liked to finish in first place, but we were still close,” said Daly, whose squad finished two games behind the Miners. “But we’ll have our hottest arms ready to go tomorrow and moving forward.”

Had the Oilers played all of the postseason games scheduled, that could have meant six nine-inning games in four days coming off the road trip of 10 games in six days.

“I think that would have been some kind of a record or something,” Daly said.

Daly said the way his team handled the tough road trip, getting great spot starts from pitchers like Yi-Hsin Huang and Junior Ramirez, has him feeling good headed into today’s game.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I think 90 percent, or more, of teams would have given up,” Daly said. “These guys stuck together.”

That’s not to stay the Pilots don’t present problems. The Oilers were 4-7 against them this year.

While Daly said some of those losses came while his club was short-handed, he did not dispute how good the Pilots are.

The coach tabbed Pilots infielders Joe Gillette and Kyle Watson as players who have a good shot of succeeding at the next level.

“They have a great team and they’re usually near the top every year,” Daly said. “They have great pitching, very, very good defenders, and their bats are solid.”

But Daly said the comforts of home-field advantage should not be overlooked. And if the Oilers need any more motivation, there’s always the All-Alaska Baseball League team.

The Oilers did not get any of the major awards. Daly sent a sheet with various statistical comparisons to fellow league coaches and Pete Christopher, league president, voicing his displeasure.

Daly thought Alex Seifert, the defending winner of the Gold Glove, should have won again. Seifert played five different positions for the Oilers this season and Daly said he did not make an error.

Daly also thought Jonathan Washam of the Oilers should have beaten out Garrison Schwartz of the Miners for top hitting prospect. Washam led the ABL with a .344 average, while the next player in line hit .321 and Schwartz was at .275.

The coach also thought Seth DeWitt of the Oilers should have been the first-team first baseman over Jake Scudder of the Miners, and he couldn’t believe Oilers starter Justin Montgomery didn’t make the first or second team.

Montgomery was 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA, striking out 39 and walking 23 in 54 innings pitched. Montgomery was an All-Star Game starter and was one out from a no-hitter against the Miners.

The final player Daly stuck up for was Darius Hill, who was a second-team outfielder.

“A lot of things have gone against us this year, but I’m still liking our chances in the playoffs, especially if we can win tomorrow,” Daly said.

Billy Oxford will get the start for the Oilers. Oxford is 3-2 with a 1.47 ERA this season.

More in Sports

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

tease
Strausbaugh, Hippchen take Turkey Skate

Soldotna hosted Kenai Central for the Turkey Skate at Tsalteshi Trails on… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the… Continue reading