The Peninsula Oilers got insane efforts on the mound and at the plate to defeat the Anchorage Bucs 5-2 on Sunday in Alaska Baseball League play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The meaning of insane varied on whether the reference was to Oilers' pitching or hitting.
On the mound, starter Sam Moore was crazy good. He pitched the team's first complete game of the season, giving up just two hits and two runs while striking out three and walking none. Moore threw 102 pitches, 68 for strikes.
At the plate, the Oilers were strangely persistent. After getting seven hits and leaving 13 on base in a Saturday extra-innings loss, Peninsula scored just one run Sunday when seven of its first nine batters reached base.
But the Oilers stayed with their approach and ended up with 13 hits and five runs.
"I always say you have to be insane to play this game," Oilers head coach Kyle Richardson said. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and not expecting to get the same result.
"That's what we had to do after (Saturday)."
Moore throws six different pitches — fastball, sinker, change-up, splitter, curveball and slider.
As the Bucs found out, that's a lot of pitches to try and hit. But as the Oilers found out in Moore's first five starts, that's also a lot of pitches for the catcher to signal.
"Sam is a guy who knows what pitch he wants to throw next when the catcher is throwing him the ball back," Richardson said.
The problem is the catcher has only a one in six shot of getting the pitch call right.
"Sam is also a guy who likes to stay in rhythm," Richardson said.
So the Oilers went to a swipe system for Sunday's game.
Catcher Adam Sonabend and Moore had the six pitches in a particular order. Sonabend would put the sign down to signal a pitch, and Moore would swipe his jersey the necessary number of times to change the signal to the pitch he wanted to throw.
"It was the first time I'd used the swipe system in a game," Sonabend said. "I got confused once early in the game, but there was nobody on base, so I was just ready for anything."
Not so with Bucs' hitting. Anchorage got its lone two hits in the third in taking a 2-1 lead. After that, Moore would have retired the next 18 batters had it not been for an error by second baseman Tim Proudfoot.
When the coaches started thinking about taking Moore out in the seventh and eighth inning, Moore said he told them, "It's my game. I'm going to finish it."
And he did, needing just eight pitches to get through the eighth and nine to get through the ninth.
"My arm felt great," Moore said. "I could have thrown 30 more pitches."
Moore said the key to his outing came in the bottom of the third inning, when the Oilers jumped right back on top with two-out, RBI hits by Michael Hoo and Kyle Hunt for a 3-2 lead.
"It's much harder to pitch when you are down 2-1," Moore said.
The Oilers also got a two-out hit from Sonabend, playing in front of parents Isy and Benita, in the fourth inning to go up 4-2.
"(Saturday), we were hitting balls hard, they were just right at people," said Sonabend, who thanked host parents Dan and Bonnie Duncan for their cooking and laundry efforts this summer.
That positive attitude is exactly what Richardson wants to see. After the frustrating loss Saturday, Richardson said the team had a great batting-practice session Sunday.
Then when bad things happened in the game, like Andre Mercurio getting picked off in the first inning, the team moved on, with Mercurio getting two more hits in the game and scoring a run.
"It's about staying positive and not dwelling on the negative stuff," Richardson said.
Mercurio was 3 for 4 before leaving with a shoulder injury. Richardson said he is not sure how serious the injury is.
Turner Clouse was 2 for 2 with two runs and an RBI, while Kyle Hunt was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Sonabend also had two hits.
The Bucs (14-11, three games back) and the Oilers (13-12, four games back) will keep up their chase of the Alaska Goldpanners. The Bucs play the Panners tonight in Anchorage, while the Panners come to Kenai on Tuesday for four games in three days. The Oilers are off today.
"We'll need to take care of business ourselves, then we'll need some help from other people," Bucs head coach Tony Cappuccilli said. "I thought we competed down here, we just couldn't string anything together except for the 10th inning (Saturday) night."
Oilers 5, Bucs 2
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2B — Duffy, Hunt. SH — Coolbaugh, Alvarez, Hoo. SB — Mercurio, Hoo, Hunt. CS — Crowley, Coolbaugh, Mercurio, Proudfoot, Tempel. E — Vallieres, Proudfoot 2. LOB — Bucs 1, Oilers 10.
WP — Stone. HP — by Ca. Copping (Proudfoot).