Peninsula Oilers clinch Alaska Baseball League title

Local squad wears first crown since 2006

First came the hitting outburst. Then the dog pile. And finally, the Gatorade bath.

Now the Peninsula Oilers are champions.

The Oilers defeated the Athletes in Action Fire 10-4 in seven innings in the first game of a doubleheader Friday evening at a sun-soaked Coral Seymour Memorial Park, earning their first Alaska Baseball League regular-season title since 2006. The Mat-Su Miners took the crown in 2010.

The Oilers won the second game of the doubleheader 6-5 behind a grand slam by Mike Miller, who also had two stolen bases in the game.

"It was real enjoyable to watch these guys play," said coach Dennis Machado, who was drenched with Gatorade following the last out. "It was great just to watch those guys jump out there at the end and celebrate all the hard work they put into it."

The Oilers were atop the ABL from the first day of the season, never losing more than three consecutive games after a 7-1 start. The squad relied on a deep, consistent pitching staff, and showed power at the plate during its best stretches.

On Friday, the Oilers put their stamp on the ABL with a dominating, 13-hit effort.

The top four hitters in Peninsula's lineup combined for eight hits, seven runs and five RBIs.

Leadoff man Miller, who entered the game with an ABL-best .348 average but had struggled the past week, was 3 for 3 with three runs, two stolen bases, a triple and one RBI.

No. 2 hitter Chris Mallory went 2 for 2 with a pair of runs, a double and one RBI. Patrick Wisdom, the league's leader in RBIs with 26, was 2 for 3. And cleanup hitter Troy Channing added two RBIs on a 1 for 2 effort.

Manny Acosta and Ryan McChesney added two hits apiece.

"It looks like everybody is coming up with great approaches. That's a big key," Mallory said. "We've had better approaches and it's starting to show a little bit."

After letting a 4-0 lead slip away, Peninsula scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth and four more in the sixth to break it open.

Miller broke a 4-4 game by sending a triple over the head of Fire center fielder Scott Kalamar to score Nate Ring in the bottom of the fourth. Miller eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Channing.

Peninsula then buried the Fire in the sixth with four runs on six hits against reliever Michael White, who allowed seven hits in 2 2-3 innings.

Ring, Miller, Mallory, Wisdom and Channing strung together five consecutive hits to open the rally, accounting for three runs. Tanner Rust and Greg Anderson earned walks before Acosta made it 10-4 with a single to left.
Reese McGraw pitched a scoreless seventh, and the celebration was on as the Oilers piled atop the pitcher's mound.

"We had a great group of guys come in here, to see the guys come together. We had a stretch where we weren't playing so well, but it seems like we are coming together again," Mallory said, referring to a recent three-game losing streak, which tied the club's longest. "It's an exciting moment. I'm glad for this town and all the players. We got to experience something special."

It was a particularly rewarding evening for Wisdom and Miller, the lone holdovers from 2010, when the club came close but fell shy of the title.

Miller said the camaraderie in the dugout was evident from Day 1, with each player contributing.

"Each and every guy is a pleasure to be around," Miller said. "When you have guys that not only play well but they have fun doing it, it makes for a fun atmosphere on and off the field. Right from the beginning, we've had that."

The Oilers wasted no time finding the scoreboard Friday, sending nine batters to the plate in a four-run first inning.

A Mallory walk sandwiched between Miller and Wisdom singles loaded the bases with no outs. After Channing struck out, Fire third baseman Taylor Oldham botched a Rust grounder, allowing two runs to score.

McChesney doubled to right-center field to score another before Acosta beat out an infield single to finish the rally.

The Fire responded in the fourth against Peninsula starter Ben Griset, who struck out five batters over the first three innings.

Griset loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of singles and a walk before Marshall McDonald doubled to the wall through the gap in right-center field, scoring two. Ryan Miller sent another across the plate with a grounder to shortstop.

After a walk, Trey Martin evened the score at 4 with a deep grounder to shortstop.

That's when the Oilers' bats came to life.

"We jumped out early, came out with a lot of energy and put together some good at-bats," Machado said. "That's a tough, tough team. Our guys kept working and were able to get some runs on the board and put it away at the end. It was a great day for them all around."

In the second game, the Oilers came back from a 4-0 deficit to record the win.

Kellen St. Luce got the start for the Oilers and lasted just 1 2-3 innings, giving up four runs.

The Oilers rallied for six runs in the bottom of the second against Fire loser Matthew Bell. After RBI singles by McChesney and Manny Reyes, Miller came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out and hit a home run to left center.

That would be all the Oilers needed as Tyler Blum gave up a run in 2 1-3 innings and Jordan Mills pitched shutout ball for three innings.

Ryan Miller finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs for the Fire.

The Oilers finish the campaign at the Anchorage Glacier Pilots today.

Following that game, Peninsula boards a plane for the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. The Oilers begin the 64-team tournament Aug. 3.

"We're not done," Machado said. "We've got to stay with our approaches at the plate and stay sharp. Nothing's over. We're just getting started."

Friday, Game 1
Oilers 10, Fire 4
Oilers AB R H BI Fire AB R H BI
Millr ss 3 3 3 1 Kalmr cf 4 0 0 0
Mllry 2b 2 2 2 1 Shryck ss 3 1 1 0
Wisdm 3b 3 1 2 1 Oldhm 3b 2 1 0 0
Chnng 1b 2 1 1 2 Schoch dh 2 1 1 0
Rust rf 3 1 0 0 Bllrd pf 1 0 0 0
McChsn c 4 0 2 1 McDnld 1b 2 1 1 2
Andsn dh 3 0 0 0 Millr lf 2 0 0 1
Acosta lf 4 0 2 2 Eigsti 2b 2 0 1 0
Ring cf 3 2 1 0 Mrtin rf 3 0 1 1
---- -- -- -- -- Brddck c 3 0 0 0
Totals 30 10 13 8 Totals 24 4 5 4
AIA 000 400 0 -4
Peninsula 400 204 X -10
E - Oldham. DP - Fire 2. LOB - Oilers 8, Fire 6. 2B - McChesney, Mallory, Ring, McDonald. 3B - Mike Miller. SB - M. Miller 2, Acosta, Ring, Shryock. SAC - Channing.

Griset, W 4.2 4 4 4 4 7
Kizer 1.1 1 0 0 1 0
McGraw 1 0 0 0 1 0
Aikenhead, L 3 6 6 5 4 2
White 2.2 7 4 4 2 1
Shryock 0.1 0 0 0 0 0

HP - by Griset (Shryock).

Friday, Game 2
Oilers 6, Fire 5
Fire AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Millr lf 2 1 2 2 Millr ss 2 1 1 4
Bullrd 2b 3 1 1 1 Mllry 2b 3 0 0 0
Turbn cf 3 0 0 1 Wisdm 3b 3 0 0 0
Oldhm dh 3 0 0 0 Chnng dh 2 1 1 0
Shryck 3b 4 0 0 0 Rust rf 3 1 1 0
Schch c 4 0 2 0 MChsny 1b 3 1 1 1
Swyr pr 0 0 0 0 Acsta lf 2 1 0 0
Kalmr rf 4 0 0 0 Reyes c 3 1 1 1
MDnld 1b 2 1 1 0 Krksy cf 1 0 0 0
Egsti ss 2 2 1 0 ---- -- -- -- --
Alaska 220 100 0 -5
Peninsula 060 000 X -6
E - Bullard, Bell, Reyes 2. DP - Fire 2, Oilers 1. LOB - Fire 8, Oilers 2. 2B - RMiller, Bullard, Channing. HR - MMiller. SB - Miller 2, Bullard 2.

Bell, L 1 1-3 4 6 6 3 2
Heller 4 2-3 1 0 0 1 2
St. Luce 1 2-3 2 4 3 3 3
Blum 2 1-3 3 1 1 3 1
Mills, W 3 2 0 0 1 3

T - 2:10.


Tue, 03/28/2017 - 00:18

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