Peninsula Oilers starter Eric Reardon delivers to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers starter Eric Reardon delivers to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Monday: Oilers walk off, snap 6-game skid

The Peninsula Oilers defeated the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 6-5 in 10 innings Monday in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Oilers. Peninsula moves to 8-16 and is in fourth place in the league, 8.5 games behind the league-leading Anchorage Bucs.

The Pilots came up just short in their attempt to sweep the five-game series and sit at 13-10, in third in the league just a game behind the Mat-Su Miners and three games behind the Bucs. The Miners and Chinooks were still playing Monday night as the Clarion went to press.

Monday’s win was a roller-coaster ride, with the Oilers jumping out to a 3-0 lead only to fall behind 4-3, come back to tie it in the sixth, fall behind in the eighth, tie it in the ninth and win it in the 10th.

Pilots starter Matthew Sanchez came into the game red-hot, but the Oilers got to him for his first run in 17 innings in the bottom of the third. Connor McCord walked with the bases loaded for the first run, then Giancarlos Servin had a two-run double for a 3-0 lead.

Oilers starter Jacob Reed was solid, going six innings and giving up eight hits and four runs — one earned.

The Pilots rallied on Reed in the fifth, with Matt Ottino knocking in two for his 10th and 11th RBIs of this series. Zach Morgan then singled in Ottino, who had multiple hits in each game of the series, for a 4-3 lead.

The Oilers knotted the game at four in the sixth, starting the inning with three straight singles. Skyler Messinger singled to tie the game, but the Pilots brought in closer Hunter Rigsby to work out of the one-out, bases-loaded jam.

In the eighth, Ottino struck again, singling and stealing second. EJ Andrews, who had the game-winning hit Sunday, then singled in Ottino.

In the ninth, the Oilers were able to get to Higsby for his first run of the season when Servin singled to score Victor Carlino.

In the 10th, Andrews, normally an outfielder, was brought in for his second appearance of the season and the Oilers pounced. Drew Thorpe led off with a double and scored on a single by Messinger.

Bringing more good news to the Oilers was the work of relievers Jonathan Carlos and Heath Olive, who had been battling injuries. They combined to pitch four innings and yield one run, with Olive getting the win.

The win was needed after a tough, 3-2 Sunday loss for the Oilers.

Oilers head coach Kyle Brown has lost eight players due to injury and a few other reasons in the last week, though Carlos and Olive were able to play Monday.

“For me, I’m just trying to maintain a positive attitude and develop the kids that are here,” Brown said.

The Oilers are looking to bring two pitchers and a catcher up to fill the most needed gaps, but Brown said there is not an ample supply of players available at this date.

Sunday showed just how hard getting wins in the ABL can be, as a crucial error by third baseman Bobby Goodloe was a turning point in the game.

With the wind sweeping in briskly from right field, both starters gave their teams chances to win.

For the Oilers, Eric Reardon went six innings, giving up a run on six hits while walking two and striking out two.

“Eric Reardon in the past two starts has been great,” Brown said. “It really helps us when he gets through six innings. It saves the bullpen.”

Pilots starter Peyton Carson nearly matched Reardon, going six innings and giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and fanning one.

Anchorage head coach Jeff Pritchard said there was no reason to be too fine with the wind blowing in like it was.

“We asked him to throw strikes, quality strikes,” Pritchard said. “He controlled his fastball and did just that.”

The pitchers also were helped out by some solid defense. The Oilers turned three double plays, while the Pilots turned two. Anchorage left fielder Andrews and right fielder Garrett Spain each had two diving or near-diving plays to corral rockets off Oilers bats.

“Their left fielder made plays and their right fielder made plays,” Brown said. “They didn’t make any errors. Give them credit.”

The Oilers were able to manufacture a couple of runs, something they struggled with early in the season.

In the fourth, Jaden Fein and Messinger started the inning with singles, Thorpe moved the runners with a bunt and John Mackay grounded out to score Fein.

In the sixth, McCord reached on a walk, moved to second on a Fein grounder, took third on a balk and scored on a passed ball.

“In the past two games, we’ve kind of manufactured runs here and there,” Brown said. “The next stage is getting the big hit.”

The Pilots had the big hits in this game, including the only clouts to reach the wind-protected wall.

Daniel Mendez gets props for his fifth-inning blast that managed to defeat the gusts and leave the yard.

Pritchard said there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into improving these players. Mendez’s dedication to getting more extension on his swing paid off.

“These guys are athletes first,” Pritchard said. “When they take a concept and turn it into something tactical, it’s very fun to see.”

Anchorage entered the top of the eighth down 2-1, but with one away Ottino reached on an error by Goodloe.

Then came more big hits. Bradley Gneiting drilled an RBI double into the gap in right center off reliever Servin, then Andrews followed with a game-winning single.

Pilots relievers Logan Thomazin and Zach Morgan shut the Oilers down on one hit over the final three innings. Thomazin experienced shoulder soreness and was pulled as a precaution, but Morgan came in midcount and didn’t miss a beat.

Brown said his team may have been a little tight in the last three innings.

“I asked them, ‘Are they playing to win or not to lose?’” he said. “I’ll let them talk about that one among themselves.”

Meanwhile, the Pilots have won four straight and are enjoying life in the Bingo Hilton and at Louie’s Restaurant. Pritchard said this trip could be a turning point in their season. Anchorage looks to sweep the five-game series today at 6 p.m.

The eight players out of action as of Sunday for the Oilers were pitcher Joey Becher (shut down due to innings accumulation coming off an injury), pitcher Olive (ankle), pitcher Carlos, infielder Ethan Patrick, center fielder Damon Keith, outfielder Camden Vasquez, catcher Taylor Johnson and catcher Jonathan Villa.

Peninsula Oilers reliever Giancarlos Servin delivers to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers reliever Giancarlos Servin delivers to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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