Peninsula Oilers pound Athletes in Action Fire

Photo by M. Scott Moon Mike Miller of the Peninsula Oilers makes a throw to first for an out in the fifth inning Thursday against Athletes in Action.

Nothing could disguise the sound of the Peninsula Oilers’ bats smacking the ball around Coral Seymour Memorial Park on Thursday — and just about everyone in Peninsula’s lineup contributed to the ruckus.


The Oilers used 12 hits by eight different players and received another strong pitching performance in pounding the Athletes in Action Fire 9-1, rebounding from a loss 2-1 Wednesday in which they managed just two hits.

Peninsula moves to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the Alaska Baseball League, good for first place, while AIA falls to 5-5 in the ABL. The second-place Mat-Su Miners are 5-2. The Anchorage Bucs hold third at 3-2, while the Anchorage Glacier Pilots are 1-7.

The squads continue the four-game series at 7 p.m. today and conclude it at the same time Saturday. Both games are at Seymour Park. Kellen St. Luce will get the start for the Oilers tonight. St. Luce is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA.

“Tonight the guys went up to the plate and battled,” Peninsula coach Dennis Machado said, comparing the effort to Wednesday’s defeat. “I don’t think there was anything really different. They just executed the game plan.”

Jeff Yamaguchi and Troy Channing both had two hits and banged home runs in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, capping the team’s six-run effort over the final three frames combined. Peninsula scored four in the seventh.

Yamaguchi went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs, hitting No. 8 in the order a night after batting fifth.

“I like it down there,” he said. “I just was trying to hit it up the middle, didn’t want to miss my pitch.”

Although Yamaguchi and Channing highlighted the effort, this was one of Peninsula’s most balanced offensive attacks this season.

The team has shown strength top to bottom — six different players have combined to hit the squad’s nine home runs — and every starter but catcher Ryan McChesney tallied at least one hit Thursday.

Leadoff hitter Mike Miller, who entered the contest with a .385 batting average, had three RBIs in going 1 for 3. Second baseman and No. 2 hitter Chris Mallory went 2 for 4, as did No. 7 hitter Tanner Rust. Patrick Wisdom, Zach Kirskey and Manny Acosta each added one hit.

Seven Oilers scored runs.

“100 percent,” Machado said of the importance of receiving contributions from more than just the heart of the lineup. “It’s always nice to see contributions from the top, middle and bottom of the order.”
Not to be overlooked was another efficient performance from a cast of Peninsula pitchers.

Justin Haley, making his third start of the season, allowed one run on one hit over five innings. He yielded three walks and struck out three on 75 pitches, earning his first victory of the season.

Haley hadn’t gone more than four innings in his first two appearances, struggling with command in two innings of work in his opener and being yanked after four innings in a better second performance.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder got all the help he would need when Peninsula doubled its run total from Wednesday when Yamaguchi doubled to the fence in left-center field in the top of the second to score Kirksey and Rust. The Oilers added a third run on a Miller sacrifice fly.

Haley’s only blemish came in the fifth after he walked Ryan Miller to lead off the inning. Miller advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a grounder before Cole Bullard drove him in with a chopper to shortstop.

“Justin was aggressive out there tonight,” Machado said. “He gave us five solid innings and handed it over to the bullpen.”

Brandon Kizer and James Mannara both pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Kizer was at his best. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out three on 18 pitches.

Kizer entered in the sixth with a 3-1 lead, and the Oilers broke the game open in the seventh.

After Yamaguchi was plunked and Acosta singled to right to open the inning, Miller executed a perfect hit-and-run. He sent an opposite-field single to right and advanced all the way to third thanks to a pair of throwing errors. Yamaguchi and Acosta both scored.

Mallory then singled off the wall in left to score Miller, making it 6-1. With two outs, Channing doubled to right-center field to send Mallory home from first.

Yamaguchi and Channing then hit their late-inning blasts to cap a complete performance.

Trey Martin took the loss for AIA, but settled in after the three-run second. He threw 87 pitches over six innings, walking one and striking out two while allowing three runs.

The win put the Oilers back on track after they saw a seven-game win streak get snapped Wednesday.

“It shows the character of the team,” Yamaguchi said. “We’ve just got to take it day by day.”

Oilers 9, Fire 1
Oilers AB R H BI Fire AB R H BI
Millr ss 3 1 1 3 Bllrd 2b 4 0 1 1
Mllry 2b 4 1 2 1 Kalmr rf 4 0 1 1
Wisdm 3b 4 0 1 0 Turbin cf 4 0 0 0
McChsny c 3 0 0 0 Oldhm 3b 4 0 0 0
Reyes c 2 0 0 0 Schoch dh 4 0 0 0
Chnng dh 5 1 2 2 McDnld 1b 3 0 0 0
Kirsky cf 5 1 1 0 Braddk c 3 0 0 0
Rust rf 5 1 2 0 Millr lf 1 1 0 0
Ymgchi 1b 4 3 2 3 Eigsti ss 3 0 0 0
Acosta lf 2 1 1 0 ---- -- -- -- --
Ring lf 1 0 0 0 ---- -- -- -- --
Totals 38 9 12 9 Totals 30 1 2 1
Peninsula 030 000 411 — 9
AIA 000 010 000 — 1
E — Haley, Kalamar, Oldham. LOB — Oilers 8, Fire 5. 2B — Yamaguchi, Channing. HR — Yamaguchi, Channing. SB — Acosta. SAC — Miller.

Haley, W 5 1 1 1 3 3
Kizer 2 0 0 0 0 3
Mannara 2 1 0 0 0 1
Martin, L 6 5 3 3 1 2
Bell 1 4 4 4 0 2
Kaplan 2 3 2 2 2 4
PB — McChesney. WP — Martin, Kaplan. HBP — by Martin (Acosta), by Bell (Yamaguchi).
T — 2:31


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