After a day of flipping flies on the Kenai River, what could be better than an evening watching some of the nation's top collegiate baseball talent chasing down flies at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai?
The Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League, one of the country's top collegiate summer baseball leagues, begin the 2004 season June 10.
The Oilers have 24 home games scheduled this season. League opponents include the Mat-Su Miners, the Anchorage Bucs, the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks and Athletes in Action Alaska Fire, which also plays its home games in Fairbanks.
In addition, the Oilers have several series scheduled against teams from other summer leagues.
Aric Thomas will serve as the head coach for the Oilers after playing for the team when it won a National Baseball Congress World Series championship in 1993.
The team claimed three straight league titles from 1998-2000, but the club hasn't been able to finish in the top two which clinches a trip to the NBC tournament over the past three seasons.
The ABL has given some of today's top major league players their starts. Team alumni include Rich Aurilla, Jeff Cirillo, J.T. Snow, Mark Redman a teammate of Thomas' in 1993 and Doug Mientkiewicz.
Coral Seymour Memorial Park, at the end of Tinker Lane off the Kenai Spur Highway, poses more than a few challenges to would-be sluggers. Despite moving the outfield fence 12 feet closer to home plate two seasons ago, it's still 320 feet down the foul lines, 400 to center field and plenty tough to reach in a league that uses wood bats.
General admission for games at the park is $3, $2 for seniors and students. Reserved seating in the covered grandstand area is $6. Special promotions and ticket packages also are available.
For more information on the Peninsula Oilers and the Alaska Baseball League, call 283-7133, stop by the team office on the corner of Cook Avenue and Main Street in Kenai or visit www.oilersbaseball.com on the Web.
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