Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion

Stellar defense sends Oilers to 2-win start over Miners

It took the starting pitcher tossing the first complete game of his life and his newly acquainted teammates playing stellar defense against the defending regular-season champions, but the Peninsula Oilers rolled out another win.

A second straight defensive lockdown to start the summer resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Oilers over the Mat-Su Miners on Thursday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

California native Justin Montgomery delivered 105 pitches and struck out four while giving up just two hits in the first complete game he has ever thrown.

“It was definitely everything I had, I gave it my all,” said Montgomery, a freshman out of Cal Baptist University.

On offense, the Oilers produced just five hits, but they did not need much at the plate when Montgomery and company were commanding the field. The Oilers scored the only two runs in the bottom of the third, starting when Shih-Tsung Wang smacked a double down the left field line, plating Cameron Miller for a 1-0 lead. DeWitt followed that up with a run on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

Andrew Bash led Peninsula from the plate, going 2 for 3, while Alex Seifert, Cameron Miller and Shih-Tsung Wang each recorded a hit. Miller and Wang both had doubles.

The Oilers have yet to allow a run this year, but only hold a three-run scoring advantage due to exemplary defense. In Thursday’s game, the Oilers infield and outfield was busy corralling any balls put in play by the Miners. Peninsula first baseman Seth DeWitt racked up nine put-outs on the day while shortstop Jeff Chapuran had five.

Through 18 innings of play, the Oilers pitching staff has just three hits to its name.

“It’s kind of what we expected,” said Oilers head coach Brian Daly. “Good pitching and defense is no secret to winning games, and our approach to the plate has been fantastic.”

From the mound, Montgomery said he was able to command his fastball once his changeup put him ahead in the pitch count.

“The changeup has been working really well for me, it was keeping guys off balance,” he said. “My slider also kept me in the game pretty well.”

Mat-Su pitcher Mick Vorhof took the loss on the mound, going six innings and giving up five hits, two walks and striking out four.

The two sides combined for four errors in the first 2 1-2 innings, three of those going to the Miners on infielders being unable to make the play for an out. In the bottom of the second, a pair of errors by Miners shortstop Josh Bissonette left Oilers runners on second and third, but Vorhof got out of the jam with a strikeout of Jared Huber.

In the top of the sixth, Bissonette flied out to Brian Ruhm to strand Madison Nickens on third. Nickens reached base on a walk and made it to third while trying to steal second, with a throwing error helping him.

In the top of the seventh, second baseman Bash made an impressive grab and throw to first for the second out of the frame to keep Mat-Su off the board.

In the final two innings, Montgomery said he began getting questions from the coaching staff about him staying in the game, but Montgomery said he wanted to finish off what he started. With the defense humming, the decision was easy.

“I was amazed by how well they did,” Montgomery said about his supporting cast. “Going into the last couple innings, I had complete faith and trust in them.”

The Oilers continue the season today and Saturday with 7 p.m. matchups against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at Seymour Park.

Thursday

Oilers 2, Miners 0

Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Nkns, cf 3 0 0 0 Sfrt, 3b 4 0 1 0

Bsnt, ss 4 0 0 0 Ruhm, rf 3 0 0 0

Rltt, c 3 0 0 0 Mllr, dh 4 1 1 0

Scdr, 1b 3 0 0 0 Dwtt, 1b 3 1 0 0

Swtz, dh 3 0 1 0 Wang, lf 4 0 1 1

Mtgy, rf 3 0 1 0 Cprn, ss 4 0 0 0

Bynm, lf 3 0 0 0 Szpk, cf 3 0 0 0

Grsn, 3b 3 0 0 0 Bash, 2b 3 0 2 0

Lee, 2b 3 0 0 0 Hbr, c 3 0 0 0

Miners 000 000 000 —0 2 3

Oilers 002 000 000 —2 5 2

2B — Miller, Wang. SB — Nickens, Ruhm (2), Chapuran, Szpik, Bash. CS — Nickens, Schwartz, Seifert. E — Bissonette (2), Garrison, Bash, Huber.

LOB — Miners 2, Oilers 8.

IP H R ER BB SO

Miners

Vorhof, L 6.0 5 2 2 2 4

O’Brien 1.0 0 0 0 1 2

Floyd 1.0 0 0 0 0 1

Oilers

Montgomery, W 9.0 2 0 0 1 4

T — 2:12.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Oilers starter Justin Montgomery delivers to home Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park against the Mat-Su Miners.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Oilers starter Justin Montgomery delivers to home Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park against the Mat-Su Miners.

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