A quick glance at the lineup revealed the challenges the Peninsula Oilers faced in a 6-3, season-opening loss against the Lake Erie (Mich.) Monarchs at Coral Seymour Memorial Park on Thursday.
There was the left-handed pitcher who batted ninth in the lineup as a designated hitter. There was the second baseman who about 12 hours before the game was on an airplane coming from California. And there were the mere seven substitutes on the bench — about half the number the squad will have when it’s at full strength in less than a week.
Oilers coach Dennis Machado couldn’t scoff at his club’s performance in the nonleague game.
“When you play a team that’s got a full roster, and we have a pitcher as a designated hitter, you take it for what it’s worth,” Machado said. “We’ll just see what happens the next couple of days.”
Lake Erie built an early lead and never trailed.
The Monarchs loaded the bases in the top of the first without needing a hit against Peninsula starter and loser Jordan Mills.
Pat Hirschberg drilled a three-run triple to the fence in right-center field to open the scoring and a Monarchs player scored on a double steal later in the inning to make it 4-0.
Mills issued three walks and hit a batter in facing eight hitters on 30 pitches through the inning. He followed with three scoreless innings.
The 6-foot-5 left-hander from St. Mary’s College in California allowed four runs — all earned — in four innings, striking out five, walking three and hitting one batter on 64 pitches.
“He just settled down and got more aggressive, started going after guys,” Machado said. “It’s a new experience for him, being in Alaska for the first time, but he did a great job after that putting up three zeros.”
In the top of the fifth, Lake Erie added another when Peninsula first baseman Jeff Yamaguchi sent a wild throw from first to third in trying to pick off a runner stuck between third and home, making it 5-0.
The Oilers got on the board in the bottom of the inning following a leadoff double from Chris Mallory, who started at second base after getting off a plane earlier in the day — at 4:50 a.m.
Mallory, who was 2-for-4 with one RBI, moved to third when Eric Poulson grounded out to second and scored on a James Mannara dribbler between the pitcher and first base.
An inning later, Mallory snuck a soft line drive past Lake Erie second baseman Hank LaRue to cut the lead to 5-2, and Poulson singled to center on the next at-bat to score another.
John Maciel, who relieved Mills in the fifth, got into trouble in the top of the seventh after retiring the first two batters.
The Monarchs notched a run on three consecutive singles, the last one dropping into right field off the bat of Chris Reinhart to score Donny Duschinsky from second base.
Neither team would score again.
“You take away the first inning and it was a pretty good day from our pitching staff,” Machado said. “We weren’t quite sure what to expect on day one and that’s why we play these nonleague games, to knock the rust off and see what’s going on.”
The Monarchs had three pitchers throw three innings each — Taylor Dimmerling, Mike Moyer and Tyler Scott. Dimmerling earned the win and didn’t allow a run, while Scott got the save, also keeping his slate clean.
The Oilers had 17 players available for the game and will continue to add to the roster over the next few days. Machado said he expects the squad to be at full strength by Sunday.
Justin Haley will start tomorrow at 7 p.m. against the Monarchs at Seymour Park.
Mallory said it was an interesting experience to get on the field in Kenai — he is a student at Fresno State University — but he believes the team will be competitive.
“I think for the first game, the guys played pretty well,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun season and hopefully we can put together a good squad once everyone is here and ready to go.”
Monarchs 6, Oilers 3
Monarchs AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
LaRue 2b 5 0 0 0 Ring cf 4 0 0 0
Davison lf 4 2 1 0 Petersn ss 4 0 1 0
Farmer 1b 3 1 0 0 Fages lf 5 0 0 0
Dsnsky dh 4 2 2 0 McChsny c 4 0 0 0
Hnschbrg cf 5 1 2 3 Ymgchi 1b 3 1 1 0
Reinhart 3b 4 0 2 1 Rust rf 3 1 2 0
Ell rf 3 0 0 0 Mallory 2b 4 1 2 1
Tatera ss 3 0 0 0 Poulsn 3b 3 0 1 1
Palmer c 4 0 1 0 Mannra dh 4 0 1 1
Totals 35 6 8 4 Totals 34 3 8 3
Lake Erie 400 010 100 —6
Peninsula 000 012 000 —3
E — Reinhart, Yamaguchi. DP — Lake Erie 2, Oilers 1. LOB — Monarchs 8, Oilers 8. 2B — Reinhart, Mallory, Rust. 3B — Hirschberg. SB — Ell, Duschinsky, Farmer, Peterson, Ring, Yamaguchi.
IP H R ER BB SO
Demerling, W 3 2 0 0 1 1
Moyer 3 4 3 3 3 1
Scott, S 3 2 0 0 0 1
Mills, L 4 3 4 4 3 5
Maciel 3 3 3 4 3 1
Blum 1 0 0 0 1 1
WP – None. HBP – by Mills (Davison), by Scott (Poulson).