The Peninsula Oilers ran their winning streak to three with a 10-9 victory over the Chugiak Chinooks on Thursday in Alaska Baseball League play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Oilers move to 11-20 in the league and were two games behind the Anchorage Bucs for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Bucs playing late Thursday against the Mat-Su Miners.
“Going into the homestretch here to end the season this is really big for us,” John Olmstead said on a postgame interview on 1140 AM. “Especially since we were in last by a little bit, we’re just putting it together, win by win, day by day.
“It’s been really good and hopefully we can keep it going down the road.”
The three wins have started off a 10-game homestand for the Oilers, which continues with a 6 p.m. game today and 5 p.m. game Saturday against the Chinooks. The Oilers also have worn their vest jerseys in each of those games, not putting any shirts below to favor the sleeveless look.
“Those jerseys just bring a kind of fearless energy to the team and it’s something you can’t find everywhere,” Olmstead said on 1140 AM. “Not a lot of teams do it, but we needed something to spark the boys up and it seems like the sleeveless jerseys did it.”
The Oilers jumped to a big lead Thursday before holding on for the victory.
The Chinooks scored in the top of the first inning, but the Oilers led 2-1 by the bottom of the first. Chugiak tied the game in the second, but the Oilers led 5-2 by the end of the inning.
A five-run fourth inning gave the Oilers a 10-2 lead, but the Chinooks stormed back with three in the sixth, two in the seventh and two in the eighth to nearly complete a big comeback.
Jake Putnam moved to 1-4 for the Oilers by pitching the first six innings and giving up five runs on eight hits. After Nolan Patterson gave up three runs in an inning, Henry Bird recorded the unlikely save by working two innings and giving up an unearned run.
“The fastball was just working really well and the curveball and slider were both playing very well off my fastball,” Bird said on 1140 AM. “I was just able to command the zone and get some outs.”
Justin Estrada took the loss for Chugiak, giving up eight runs — six earned — in three innings of work.
Olmstead continued a huge series at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two runs and five RBIs.
“I’m not trying to do too much,” Olmstead told 1140 AM. “Just seeing it deep, seeing it well, and putting a good, simple stroke on it. Just got to keep that going and hopefully they keep on falling.”
Also for the Oilers, Garrett Pennington was 3 for 3 with two runs, Grant Roosma was 2 for 5, and Cole Moore had a pair of runs.