Shunsuke Sakaino of the Oilers dives under the tag of Anchorage Glacier Pilots first baseman Logan Gallina on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Shunsuke Sakaino of the Oilers dives under the tag of Anchorage Glacier Pilots first baseman Logan Gallina on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Pilots finish 4-1 series against Oilers

The little things have added up to big things for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots against the Peninsula Oilers.

In a game the Pilots outhit the Oilers 4-3, Anchorage topped Peninsula 3-0 on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai in Alaska Baseball League play.

The Pilots won the series 4-1 and are now 7-1 this season against the Oilers.

“The margin has been close,” Pilots head coach Dave Serrano said. “It’s a game of inches. That’s not cliche. That’s reality.

“I think we’ve gotten those inches that have allowed us to come out on top. These have been well played games, across the board. If I’m on other other side of the field, I’m frustrated because they’ve been in every game.”

Through Sunday, the Mat-Su Miners lead the league at 14-4, while the Pilots are 10-5, the Anchorage Bucs are 7-10, the Oilers are 5-11 and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks are 4-10.

The Oilers are off until starting a five-game series against the Miners on Thursday at Seymour Park at 6 p.m.

The Pilots took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Logan Gallina scored on a throwing error by catcher Jerry Nix.

In the seventh inning, the Pilots made it 3-0 when they loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batters by Oilers reliever Mose Hayes. Caden Kendle of the Pilots then had a two-out single to score Gallina and Tom McCaffrey.

Starter Hayden Johns took the loss for the Oilers, going six innings and giving up three hits and a run. Hayes, of Homer fame, went three innings and gave up two runs on a hit.

“We actually pitched well enough to win again,” Oilers head coach Larry McCann said. “I mean, all they got was four hits. But it’s about runs, not hits.”

The Oilers were not able to get any runs on their three hits due to Pilots pitching, defense and Oilers execution with runners on base.

Pilots starter Carter Young picked up the win by going six hitless and scoreless innings, walking three and striking out five. Lucas Braun added a scoreless inning, while Jacob King picked up the save with two scoreless innings.

Young was able to keep Oilers hitters at bay using a fastball, curveball and change-up.

“I think the majority of our pitching has been about being able to throw three pitches for strikes,” Serrano said. “If you can do that, you can settle any offense down because they can’t get in a pattern of knowing you’re going to throw a fastball just because you’re behind in the count.”

The Pilots were not perfect. In the sixth, up 1-0, a pair of Pilots errors put Nix on third with one out, then runners on first and third with two outs.

Noah Hennings hit a soft grounder up the middle, with Pilots second baseman Ben Newton making a clutch play by ranging to his right and firing across his body to just get Hennings.

Serrano pointed to that play as one of the inches that decided the game, but the Oilers failure to score in the inning also pointed to another big factor in the game. With the pieces in place for a rally, the Oilers struck out for the first and second outs of the inning.

In the seventh, a similar scene played out when the Oilers put runners on first and second with nobody out. The next two batters struck out, with Pilots catcher Tom McCaffrey catching Dalton Bowling stealing after the second strikeout to end the inning.

Serrano said that play was another of the inches that decided the game, but the Oilers again made the moment possible by not executing while runners were on base.

“We’ve just not doing a good job of executing on the small stuff,” McCann said. “It’s just kind of basic stuff, we need to move runners over and put them in scoring position.

“It’s kind of disappointing in that instance, but hey, we’re going to keep grinding.”

Saturday, the Oilers got their lone victory against the Pilots. Peninsula won 4-3, with Anchorage committing four errors and yielding two unearned runs.

Carson Seeman got the win for the Oilers, going 5 2-3 innings and giving up three runs — two earned — on eight hits. Jaxton Andeel tacked on 2 1-3 scoreless innings, while Drake Frize pitched a perfect ninth of the save.

Carson Ohl took the loss for the Pilots, giving up four runs — two earned — in five innings.

James Shimashita was 2 for 4 with two runs for the Oilers, while Shunsuke Sakaino was 2 for 4. Grayson Sterling was 3 for 5 for the Pilots, while Kendle was 2 for 4.

Oilers catcher Jerry Nix tags out Ali Camarillo of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Oilers catcher Jerry Nix tags out Ali Camarillo of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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