A night after notching just four hits and a run in a loss to the Chugiak Chinooks on Wednesday, the Peninsula Oilers’ bats came alive again to top the Chinooks 9-5 on Thursday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The victory left the Oilers in second place, tied with the Chinooks a game out of first. The Anchorage Glacier Pilots are in first at 11-7, while the Oilers are 11-9, and the Chinooks are 10-8. The Anchorage Bucs (9-8) are in fourth, 1 1-2 games out.
The Oilers rolled up 10 hits Thursday, with every batter in the lineup except for one collecting a base knock.
Many of the hits were of the clutch variety.
In the first inning, the Oilers fell behind 1-0 but mustered a two-out rally to take a 2-1 lead. Alex Staehely singled, stole second and scored on a single by Trey Richardson.
After Jimmie Koch walked, Riley Heinzer singled to score Richardson.
The Oilers started another two-out, two-run rally in the second for a 4-1 lead. Jordon Hein was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single by Josh Delph.
Staehely then doubled to score Delph.
Even with J.D. Salles on the mound, the Oilers were wise to keep widening the gap.
Salles pitched seven innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits. It was a quality start against a team that had averaged over eight runs a game against the Oilers in going 3-0 against the Peninsula squad heading into Thursday’s game.
Salles said on the postgame interview on 1140 AM after the game that he was fired up.
“Our team had hit a little slump lately, so I wanted to help us break out of it,” he said.
Salles credited Heinzer, the catcher, for calling a great game.
“I had to change speeds against these guys,” Salles said. “They are a great hitting team.”
The Oilers pushed the advantage to 5-1 in the fifth when Staehely walked, stole second and scored on a single by Koch.
By the end of the sixth, the Oilers led 8-2. In that inning, Josh Miller scored on a double by Jake Alvarez, Nigel Nootbaar scored on a single by Hein, and Alvarez scored on a passed ball.
The Oilers finished up their scoring in the eighth when Alvarez scored on a passed ball.
The cushion would be welcome in the ninth, when the Chinooks got to reliever Mark Garcia for three runs.
Adam Humes continued to be a thorn in the side for Oilers pitchers, going 3 for 4 with an RBI.
The same two teams play Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Seymour Park.
Oilers 9, Chinooks 5
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E — Jeffreys. LOB — Chinooks 5, Oilers 7. 2B — Humes 2, Taylor, Shryrock, Staehely, Miller, Alvarez. SB — Hein, Staehely 2, Miller. CS — Hein, Koch.
WP — Jeffreys, Kister, Garcia. PB — Humes 2. HB — Jeffreys, Garcia.