Sunday: Oilers come back to beat Chinooks

Oilers first baseman Bennett Oliver caught up just in time Sunday in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park, and so did the Peninsula Oilers.

The Oilers came back from a 4-1 deficit against the Chugiak Chinooks by posting four runs in the final three innings, winning 5-4 in the ninth on a walk-off single by Oliver.

The Oilers move to 9-7 in the ABL and stay atop the American League, leading the Anchorage Bucs by 2 1-2 games and the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks by three games.

The Oilers host the Chinooks at 7 p.m. tonight.

After James Fowlkes led off the ninth inning with a double that just eluded the dive of right fielder Caleb Potter, the Chinooks brought in Ted Christie.

Jordan Washam moved Fowlkes to third with a grounder for the first out.

Christie was making it clear he would challenge Oilers hitters with the fastball, and he did just that in striking out Alex Seifert for the second out.

Oliver worked a 2-2 count and fouled off the fifth pitch.

“The way I was fouling off, he assumed he could beat me with the fastball,” Oliver said. “I just had to get on time.”

Oliver timed up the next pitch perfectly, driving the ball into the gap in right-center field.

“The thing I’ve always said about this team is they don’t lie down for anyone,” Oilers head coach Kevin Griffin said. “Whether they are down 10-1 or 4-1, they are going to keep playing until the end.”

Oilers starter Matt Allen came into the game 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA in league play, but the Chinooks used clutch hitting to take their early lead.

In the third, Cadon Owens singled with one out, then was driven in by a double from Mike Staudinger.

The Oilers answered in the fourth when Oliver scored from second on a single by Brent Diaz. The throw would have been there in time, but catcher Tyler Boxwell couldn’t handle the hop.

“I like to be aggressive early in the game,” Griffin said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can run.”

The Chinooks continued their two-out barrage in the fifth, when a Will Bass double, Cameron Baranek walk, Patrick Cromwell triple and Holt Davis single put three runs on the board and chased Allen.

This sentenced the Oilers to a comeback attempt against the Chinooks bullpen.

“Our bullpen has been phenomenal all year,” Chinooks head coach Jordon Vierra said. “I have full faith in the bullpen.”

The Oilers pulled within 4-2 in the seventh when Fowlkes singled to score Diaz.

The Chinooks then loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth. The Oilers called on Travis Holden, and he responded by striking out Boxwell and Potter.

Holden was in a 3-1 hole against Potter.

“You just have to take a deep breath, step off the mound and know you’ve thrown a million strikes before, and now it’s time to work on the next one,” Holden said.

For 3-2, Holden pulled out his knuckle curve and froze Potter. Holden said he knew Potter would be looking for a fastball in that situation.

“I trust it. I trust it when I need to throw a strike,” Holden said of the curve.

Holden’s firefighting loomed large in the bottom of the inning, when Brian Ruhm tripled to score Oliver, and Diaz singled to score Ruhm to tie the game and set up Oliver’s walk-off heroics.

“We grind it out,” Oliver said of the Oilers. “There are a lot of good baseball players here that have been overlooked in their career.

“Everybody shows up every day and goes to work, and it shows in the late innings.”

Vierra said the loss shows how important every at-bat is in the ABL. He said poor situational hitting cost the Chinooks a run early in the game.

“We would have had one more run going into the ninth, and we could have played things a little differently,” he said.

Sunday

Oilers 5, Chinooks 4

Chinooks AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Cmwl 3b 4 1 2 2 Wsm 2b 3 0 0 0

Davis dh 3 0 1 1 Sfrt dh 5 0 0 0

Owns dh 3 0 1 1 Olvr 1b 4 2 2 1

Sdgr 1b 3 0 2 1 Bke 3b 3 0 0 0

Bxwl c 4 0 0 0 Rhm rf 4 1 1 1

Ptr rf 4 0 0 0 Diaz c 3 1 2 2

Hks ss 4 0 0 0 Wlsn lf 3 0 1 0

Bass 2b 4 1 1 0 Glsy ss 4 0 1 0

Brnk lf 3 1 0 0 Flks cf 4 1 2 1

Totals 33 4 7 4 Totals 33 5 9 5

Chugiak 000 130 000 —4

Peninsula 000 100 121 —5

2B — Staudinger, Bass, Oliver, Fowlkes. 3B — Cromwell, Ruhm. SB — Wilson 2. CS — Davis, Washam, Fowlkes. LOB — Chinooks 5, Oilers 8.

IP H R ER BB SO

Chinooks

Hamelink 6 1-3 3 2 2 2 3

Lewington 2-3 2 1 1 1 0

Stone, L 1 3 2 2 0 1

Christie 2-3 1 0 0 0 1

Oilers

Allen 5 2-3 5 4 4 2 4

VanStone 1 2-3 2 0 0 1 2

Holden 2-3 0 0 0 0 2

Lujan, W 1 0 0 0 0 2

WP — Allen. HBP — by Hamelink (Washam, Boeke, Oliver).

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