The Peninsula Oilers open their season today at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, and new head coach Brian Green will be using some creative management techniques.
The three-day tournament features round robin play between the Oilers, the Anchorage Bucs, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Miners today and Saturday. The teams will be seeded for semifinals on Sunday, with the semifinal winners advancing to a title game.
With players still arriving, Green will have about 15 players on his roster for the three-day tournament. That includes four local players -- Jackson Coleman, Joey Newby, Paul John Zobeck and Willie Castillo -- as well as the four roster players already in town and another six that were scheduled to arrive early this morning.
Green said he's not sure whether the small roster size will make his job tougher or easier.
"It does work both ways," Green said. "It's easier because there's no confusion as to who's going to play. It's tougher on the mound because we're going to need to extend some guys right off the bat. There's no looking into the dugout because there won't be any help there."
Green will have a little bit of extra help as the Oilers will have the services of pitcher Marshall Boze, a graduate of the American Legion Post 20 Twins program that went on to pitch in the major leagues.
Green said he planned to pitch Boze on Sunday.
"His whole focus was just that he'd like to come in and help us out," Green said. "He'll come out (today) and get loose."
Green plans to start Florida Atlantic University hurler Nelson Lopez and Seton Hall's Chris Reily in Friday's games.
"Our biggest challenge for the weekend i getting to know the guys and see what they can do," Green said. "We'll do as much as we can offensively to answer some of those questions."
The tournament will give Oilers batters a chance to get used to both Coral Seymour Memorial Park's spacious and deep outfield as well as the wood bats they will be swinging for the summer.
"Obviously with the big park and with the wood bat, you're going to have to manufacture some offense," Green said.
Jackson Coleman, back for his third season with the Oilers, is looking forward to getting back on the field. He said the tournament will serve as a meet-and-greet for many of his teammates.
"It's good for players to meet each other that way, and it helps the coaches see what their players are all about and what they want to do with them," Coleman said.
Green expects every player on his roster to see some playing time, and with the other teams involved in the tournament also making last-minute adjustments to their roster, it should make for an interesting and exciting weekend of baseball.
"We're going to put a team together with what we have," said Jamie D'Antona, an infielder from Wake Forest. "We know that we have talent because everybody's still playing (at college). (Playing without them) is going to be the hard part. We're going to work our butts off to get a couple in before everyone gets here."
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