The Peninsula Oilers must beat the Anchorage Bucs at 2 p.m. today at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai in order to share second place in the Alaska Baseball League.
The Bucs and Oilers split a doubleheader Saturday at Seymour Park, with the Bucs winning the first game 4-2 and the Oilers coming back for a 4-1 triumph in the second game.
The split left the Bucs at 21-18 in the league and in second place behind the league-champion Anchorage Glacier Pilots. The Oilers are 20-19 and in third place.
With a win today, the Bucs and Oilers would both finish at 21-19, and the season series would be split at 4-4.
In the first game on Saturday, the Bucs used offensive efficiency to come out on top. Anchorage was able to score four runs on just four hits, and did not leave anybody on base.
The Bucs did all their damage in the first two innings against J.D. Salles, who straightened himself out after a rocky start to go six innings and give up four runs on four hits.
In the first inning, Brenden Kalfus led off by getting hit by a pitch, then Garrett Mattlage walked. Danny Susdorf would later single to score Kalfus and Mattlage, and then Susdorf would advance to second and third on stolen bases and score on a ground-out.
Garrett Stubbs tied the game in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run, but Jordan Brink scored on a ground-out for the Bucs in the second to make it 4-2.
Jacob Rhame would make that lead hold up, pitching all seven innings and giving up two runs on five hits.
The Oilers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Jimmie Koch struck out and Alex Staehely flew out to center field.
The second game belonged to Oilers starter and winner Nigel Nootbaar, who went seven innings for the first complete game by an Oilers pitcher this season. Nootbaar gave up one earned run on two hits while walking three and striking out nine.
Nootbaar told 1140 AM after the game that he was using his fastball to get ahead, and then was getting batters to swing at curveballs in the dirt.
Nootbaar’s big test came in the fifth inning, when the Bucs loaded the bases with nobody out. Ryan Leonards grounded out to score Susdorf, but Nootbaar limited further damage when the Bucs failed on a suicide squeeze and Stephen Wadsworth struck out.
The Oilers had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on a home run by Trey Richardson. Richardson said after the game that the shot met his goal of seven dingers for the year.
“Hopefully, maybe I’ll beat it tomorrow,” he said.
After the Bucs’ rally in the fifth tied the game, Nate Ring put the Oilers up 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth with a home run. Ring said he worked a deep count and hit out a fastball.
Tyler Wright pitched five innings for the Bucs and gave up two runs on three hits.
The Oilers got to reliever Bryant Holtmann for a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning. Staehely doubled to score Richardson and then Jeff Yamaguchi doubled to score Staehely.
Bucs 4, Oilers 2, Game 1
Kalfs rf2101Ring cf3000
Mttlge ss2110Hein rf2100
Cmptn dh3000Stbs 3b4122
Susdrf cf3112Mrtnz c2000
Frgsn 1b3001Delph lf3010
Esqra lf3000Millr 2b3000
Brink 3b3120Ygchi 1b3010
Wdswrth c2000Koch dh2000
Rbrts 2b1000Rcsn dh1000
E — Mattlage. DP — Oilers 1. LOB — Bucs 0, Oilers 7. 2B — Brink. HR — Stubbs. SB — Susdorf, Ring. CS — Kalfus, Brink.
WP — Salles.
Oilers 4, Bucs 1, Game 2
Kalfs dh3010Ring cf3121
Mttlge ss2000Hein rf2000
Cmptn 1b3000Stbs c3000
Susdrf cf2100Rsn 1b2211
Esqrra rf3010Dlph lf2000
Brink lf2000Millr 2b3000
Lnrds 3b2001Stly ss3111
Wdwrth c2000Ymi 3b3011
Rbrts 2b2000Ntbr p3000
E — Brink, Wright. LOB — Bucs 2, Oilers 5. 2B — Ring, Staehely, Yamaguchi. HR — Ring, Richardson. SH — Delph. SB — Ring. CS — Kalfus, Esquerra.
WP — Nootbaar. PB — Wadsworth.