Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Trey Dawson steals second base in front of Bucs second baseman Hunter Kasuls on Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Trey Dawson steals second base in front of Bucs second baseman Hunter Kasuls on Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Thursday: Bucs edge Oilers

The Peninsula Oilers can take solace in the fact that hitting is not a problem in their recent string of success.

Unfortunately, the power on offense only took them so far Thursday night against the Anchorage Bucs as the Oilers lost a 7-6 Alaska Baseball League contest at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

The loss left the Oilers three and a half games back of the league-leading Mat-Su Miners, 12-1 winners Thursday over the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Peninsula retained its runner-up spot in the standings.

The Oilers’ bats got a workout with 11 base hits, including a home run by red-hot hitting machine Jonathan Washam.

“We were still in it until the last at-bat,” Oilers head coach Brian Daly said. “We always have the same approach, and I still feel confident we can come back to win any game.”

Coming into Thursday’s game, the Oilers had won 8 of their last 11, including nonleague contests. Including the latest loss, the Oilers are still averaging 7.6 base hits a game, and have raised that number to 10 hits average over the last three games.

Washam improved his season batting average to .381 after a 2 for 4 day that included two RBIs. Daniel Szpik also went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs batted in, and was pleased to find his way at the plate after struggling earlier in the summer.

“I’ve taken a simpler approach, and I’m seeing the ball better,” Szpik said. “I’ve learned to stop overthinking things, and it’s a comfort thing.”

With the way his teammate Washam has been hitting in recent games, Szpik said it helps to improve everyone’s game at the plate.

Szpik hit a double in the second inning that ultimately resulted in him scoring on a single by Alex Seifert, then later added a two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that tied the game.

“That (first double) was a fastball down the middle, and I made sure not to miss it,” he said. “I saw a fastball on the first pitch (on the second hit) and (Bucs starter Angel Landazuri) was giving them out all day.”

The Bucs notched the go-ahead run Thursday in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Cole Maltese off Oilers reliever Ryan Smith that bounced off the mound and into center field.

The Oilers had their opportunity to stage a rally in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases on a walk issued to designated hitter Washam with two outs, but Marshall Boggs popped out to right field to end the game. Boggs entered as a pinch hitter late after first baseman Seth DeWitt jammed a finger on a pickoff throw.

Hasten Freeman got his first official start of the season for the Oilers, giving up four earned runs on six hits before being pulled after 4 2-3 innings. Austin Piscotty, Ryan Smith and Yi-Hsin Huang combined to give up one run in 4 1-3 innings of relief.

The Oilers took an early 2-0 lead on Washam’s home run over the left field wall, then extended it to 4-1 in the bottom of the second on a two-RBI single by Seifert, who advanced to second on the throw home.

Kody Reynolds answered Washam’s homer with one of his own, sending the ball over the left field fence in the top of the third to close the gap up to 4-3.

The Bucs then took the lead on a two-RBI single by Maltese, who took advantage after a wild pitch by Freeman advanced both scoring runners to second and third base. A single by Chad Reibenspies plated another run for a 6-4 Anchorage lead. Maltese ended the evening 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

In the bottom of the sixth, Washam led off with a single, then beat out the tag to third base when Wofford hit a single, putting him in scoring position. Washam and Wofford both ended up scoring on a bloop single to center field by Szpik, tying the contest at six runs apiece.

The two teams meet again tonight at 6 p.m. in Kenai, then play a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Saturday, part of a eight-game home series for the Oilers, six of those against the Bucs.

“With the group mentality we have, we need to win at least four of the rest,” Daly said. “We wanted six (wins), but now we’re looking at five.”

Thursday

At Coral Seymour Memorial Park

Bucs 7, Oilers 6

Bucs AB H R BI Oilers AB H R BI

Htch, ss 5 0 0 0 Hill, cf 4 0 1 0

Ksls, 2b 5 0 0 0 Dwsn, ss 4 1 1 0

Snly, cf 5 1 0 0 Wshm, c 4 2 2 2

Rnds, 1b 4 2 2 2 Dwt, 1b 3 0 0 0

Ttm, dh 3 3 1 0 Bgs, 1b 2 0 0 0

Mlts, lf 5 1 3 3 Wfrd, lf 4 1 1 0

Jnsn, rf 3 0 2 0 Cprn, 2b 4 1 2 0

Rbns, c 4 0 1 2 Szpk, rf 4 1 2 2

Hmz, 3b 4 0 1 0 Bsh, dh 4 0 0 0

— Sfrt, 3b 4 0 2 2

Totals 38 7 10 7 Totals 37 6 11 6

Bucs 012 030 100 —7

Oilers 220 002 000 —6

HP — Reynolds 2 (5), Tatum (7). SH — Hill. SB — Reynolds 2 (3), Reibenspies 2 (2), Dawson (4), Wofford (2). E — Dawson (7).

LOB — Bucs 9, Oilers 7.

IP H R ER BB SO

Bucs

Landazuri 5.2 7 6 6 1 7

Bies, W 1.1 1 0 0 0 0

Rivera 2.0 3 0 0 1 1

Oilers

Freeman 4.2 5 6 4 3 4

Piscotty 1.1 1 0 0 0 1

Smith, L 1.0 3 1 1 0 1

Huang 2.0 1 0 0 0 1

T — 2:47.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Jonathan Washam (4) is congratulated on his two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning by Seth DeWitt and Trey Dawson on Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Jonathan Washam (4) is congratulated on his two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning by Seth DeWitt and Trey Dawson on Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Peninsula Oilers starter Hasten Freeman delivers home during the first inning Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Peninsula Oilers starter Hasten Freeman delivers home during the first inning Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

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