The Peninsula Oilers used the mercy rule to defeat the Seattle Studs 9-1 in seven innings Sunday at the National Baseball Congress World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan.
The Oilers, the three-time NBC champs and five-time finalists, are now 3-0 at the tournament. They move on to play Tuesday at 7 p.m. ADT against the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters. The Foresters have two NBC titles and four finals appearances. The Oilers and Foresters are two of the four remaining undefeated teams in the double-elimination tournament.
The game can be heard on 1140 AM. Games typically start a little later than they are scheduled.
"When you go into the losers' bracket and play every day, it chews up pitching," Oilers head coach Dennis Machado said via phone Sunday. "By being able to keep advancing and winning, we've got a fresh bullpen every single game."
The Oilers, who have won eight in a row dating back to the end of the Alaska Baseball League season, used a familiar formula to top the Studs, who were NBC runners-up in 2008 and 2010. Peninsula got a strong start from Ben Griset and batted around in the second inning in scoring seven runs.
"The game starts and ends with pitching," Machado said. "When a starter goes out there and sets a good tone, it allows everyone to feed off of that."
It's the third straight game the Oilers have gotten great starting pitching and batted around in an inning.
In a 14-1 win over the Northwest (Wash.) Honkers to open the tournament, Jon Maciel allowed one run in five innings and the Oilers scored seven runs in the second inning. In a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Force on Friday, Jordan Mills pitched a scoreless six innings and the Oilers scored five runs in the seventh.
Sunday also marked the third straight NBC game the Oilers reached double digits in hits - 11 apiece against the Honkers and Force, and 10 against the Studs.
"The guys have been doing a good job with (their approach at the plate)," Machado said. "As we continue in this tournament, the pitching we face will be better and better. It's important to have a good approach at the plate."
Wildness was the downfall of Studs starter and loser David Benson in the second. After starting the inning with an out, Benson walked Stephen Branca and Ryan McChesney. Boomer Collins then singled to score Branca.
Manny Acosta walked to load the bases, then Mike Miller walked to score McChesney. After Chris Mallory brought in Collins with a single, Benson was pulled in favor of Luke Goodgion.
Patrick Wisdom greeted the reliever with a single that scored Acosta and Miller, and moved Mallory to third. After Troy Channing struck out, Branca came through with a two-RBI single with two outs to put the Oilers up 7-0.
"On offense we were able to take advantage of some of their mistakes, and that took pressure off of Ben," Machado said.
That would be more than enough for Griset and the Oilers defense. Griset scattered five hits over six innings while walking two and striking out three. The Oilers also ended the first, fifth and seventh innings with double plays.
"He was aggressive from pitch one," Machado said of Griset. "He really set a good tempo."
The Studs cut the lead to 7-1 in the fourth when Kevin Corrigan doubled to score Bobby Steiger.
Needing to have an eight-run lead after seven innings to invoke the mercy rule, the Oilers got to work against Seattle reliever Stuart Gano in the sixth. Channing doubled to score Mallory and push the lead to 8-1.
After J.D. Salles put up a scoreless seventh for the Oilers, Branca, McChesney and Collins started the seventh with singles to end the game.
The Oilers got a big boost from two imported ABL players in the game. Branca, who played for the Mat-Su Miners, was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs. Collins, who played for the Anchorage Bucs, was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
Mallory had two hits, reached base all four times, and scored twice.
"No. 1, they're very good kids," Machado said of Branca and Collins. "They fit in with our group of guys really well."
Collins leads the Oilers in the tournament with a .625 batting average. Branca is second with a .583 average and leads the team with seven RBIs.
Bobby LeCount paced Seattle's six-hit attack with a pair of hits.
Machado said Maciel or Gabriel Asakura will get the start for the Oilers on Tuesday.