Nathan Webb had a two-RBI double and Devin Hayes pitched six solid innings as the Peninsula Oilers defeated the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 2-1 on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Alaska Baseball League victory in blustery, sunny conditions marked the first time the Oilers have won two in a row this season.
“Previously, we’d win a game, be happy, and lose focus the next day,” Oilers head coach Jim Dietz said after his squad moved to 6-11 overall and in the league.
But Dietz said the Oilers showcased excellent offensive execution in Saturday’s 9-1 victory, then followed that up with great pitching Sunday.
With the heavy, cool wind gusting in from left field, conditions were perfect for a pitcher’s duel, and that’s what broke out.
Hayes pitched six innings and gave up just two hits and an unearned run. He walked just two and struck out four.
Previously this season, Hayes said he was too hyped up and not hitting his spots. But Sunday he spotted his fastball while mixing in offspeed stuff.
The only time he lost control, the Oilers went down 1-0 in the top of the fifth. With one out, Hayes walked Andre Gregory and Cameron Thompson. A balk moved the runners over, then a grounder by Samuel Blair scored Gregory.
Hayes said he lost control of his slow curve in the inning, which sometimes happens when he gets tired.
“I just got a little lazy,” Hayes said. “I just needed to regain my focus.”
Eli Villalobos went seven innings for the Pilots, giving up two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four.
His only rough patch came in the sixth, when the Oilers rallied to win.
With one out, Oliver Dunn blooped a singled to center, then Kellen Strahm legged out a tapper in front of home plate.
Inches continued to play in the Oilers favor when Jeremy Conant roped a liner to third that nicked off third baseman Malcolm Tipler’s glove and went for a hit, loading the bases.
Webb then came up and crushed a double to left center on the first pitch, with Dunn and Strahm scoring and Conant getting thrown out at the plate.
Webb hit his first home run of the season Saturday, then had a potential homer to left pushed foul by the wind in his first at-bat Sunday.
The homer and the near homer came when the Pilots challenged Webb inside, but Anchorage tried it again in the fourth inning and Webb struck out.
So when Webb came up in the sixth, he knew what to expect.
“I though, ‘If I miss another one, I’m going to be mad because I know what they are doing,’” Webb said. “I’m glad I barreled it up.”
From that point, Mason Corneliussen pitched two scoreless innings and Caleb Hicks pitched a perfect ninth to ice the win.
“We’re really starting to develop the bullpen,” Dietz said. “That’s important in this league. It lets you win the last three innings.”
Dietz also said the bullpen got Hayes out of the game before he reached 100 pitches, meaning he can come back sooner.
“It was a well-played game and it had to be entertaining for the fans,” Dietz said. “One dropped fly ball or error can make the difference in a one-run game.”