Baseball games are commonly decided by balls flying over the fence.
Friday’s Alaska Baseball League contest between the Peninsula Oilers and Anchorage Glacier Pilots was decided by a ball rolling under the fence at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
With a run wiped off the board due to a ground-rule double, the Oilers were able to force extra innings and defeat the Pilots, 3-2, in the 11th.
In the 34th league game of the season, the Oilers played extra innings for the 11th time, running their record to 7-4.
In league and nonleague contests, Oilers fans have gotten to see free baseball nine times this season, with their favored squad taking seven of those contests.
“I feel like we’ve played enough extra-inning games that we’re used to it,” said Dillon Dobson, who had a walk-off single. “We know what it takes to get the job done.”
The Pilots took the early advantage when Brody Russell hit a two-run home run to left in the third inning. It was the second home run in two nights for Russell, and his second in league play.
Pilots head coach Conor Bird said Russell has been a solid hitter all year, but he started out the year going the opposite way. He has been pulling the ball of late, hence the two dingers off the Oilers.
In the fifth, the Oilers cut the score to 2-1 when David Olmedo-Barrera doubled and scored on a single by Noah Holmes.
In the top of the sixth inning, it appeared it would take the Pilots just two batters to get that run back.
Reliever Colby Blueberg came on for starter AJ Quintero and was greeted by Russell with a single. Kewby Meyer then laced a line drive over Taylor Tempel and all the way to the wall.
Russell would have scored easily, and Meyer would have been in at third standing, but the ball rolled under the fence for a ground-rule double. That meant Russell had to go back to third and Meyer had to go to second.
“They got lucky,” Bird said.
Blueberg worked out of the jam with two strikeouts and a fly ball to center.
After an odd series of events led to a run being taken off the board in the top of the sixth, an odd series led to a run in the bottom of the inning.
Michael Hoo led off with a double, then Mike Wieland singled. Hoo held up at third, but when Wieland was caught in a rundown, Hoo bolted for home and was thrown out.
After an error by the third baseman put Tempel on first and Wieland on third, Tempel stole second. Catcher Kevin Garcia made an errant throw to second, allowing Wieland to score and tie the game.
Oilers head coach Kyle Richardson said he is glad his team battled to victory in so many extra-inning games, but he said all the extra innings really hurt a pitching staff.
But Cody Repenning was able to eat up four scoreless innings for the Oilers in relief, just like he has all year in getting a 1.47 ERA. Repenning is a graduate of Grand Canyon University.
“He has been huge for us all season,” Richardson said. “We’re trying to get him an independent ball contract.
“He just does what he’s told and works hard. He doesn’t think he’s the greatest thing on the planet and loves to take the ball.”
Repenning got the Oilers through the 10th and Dylan Silva had a scoreless 11th to set up the winning rally.
Kyle Hunt started with a single, went to second on a passed ball, then took third on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Alvarez.
Bird then elected to intentionally walk the bases loaded before Dobson delivered a single up the middle on a 1-1 fastball.
“It was 1-1 so I was still looking for something I could drive,” Dobson said. “I didn’t want to get two strikes on me.”
The Oilers complete their regular season with a 6 p.m. game against the Pilots on Saturday at Seymour Park.
Oilers notes: Oilers pitcher Brody Greer signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $45,000 before the game Friday.
He reported to the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
Greer came to the ABL as a shortstop from the University of South Carolina Upstate. But Oilers staff liked his arm and used him as a pitcher.
Greer was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA, but he hit 94 mph at the Scouts Showcase to flash potential that big-league clubs couldn’t ignore.
He is the second Oilers player to earn a pro contract this season, following pitcher Michael Coates, who left the team Wednesday after signing with the Kansas City Royals organization.
Oilers 3, Pilots 2
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Grca c4110Rmrz rf4020
Rsl dh4122Oo-Br lf4120
Myr 1b5010Hlms 1b3011
CHoo 3b4010Pdft pr1010
Vrs ss4000Dbsn dh4000
Grn cf4010Snbd dh4000
Rce lf4000MHoo 3b4010
Brgr rf4000Wlnd c5120
2B — Meyer, CHoo, Olmedo-Barrera, MHoo. HR — Russell. SH — Sonabend. SB — Green, Tempel. CS — MHoo, Tempel. E — Garcia, CHoo. LOB — Pilots 5, Oilers 14. DP — Oilers 1.
PB — Garcia. HBP — by Quintero (Russell); by Buckle (Holmes); by Kendzora (MHoo). T — 3:14.