The Peninsula Oilers defeated the California Dons 2-1 Monday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, completing a three-game series sweep and improving their overall record to .500.
"The energy is good," Oilers catcher Ben Fritz said of the team's play. "Even when we were losing our first four games, we were playing good baseball. ... We're hitting and playing good defense. It's easy to come to the ballpark when things are going good."
The Oilers have won four straight after losing their first four. While the pitching and defense have been there all season, the Oilers have started putting things together at the plate of late. Peninsula batters notched eight hits in Monday's game, and coach Kyle DiEduardo had the team playing aggressively on the basepaths.
Defensively, Fritz kept the Dons from any aggressive base running, throwing out a pair of runners at second. Aside from taking a foul tip in a sensitive spot, Fritz said he enjoyed the game from behind the plate.
"Throwing out runners is a challenge for me," Fritz said. "When a runner gets on base, and it's a steal situation, I take it as a personal challenge. I pump myself up by thinking, 'I hope this guy steals.' It is rewarding when you throw them out."
Oilers starter Tim Day kept his infield busy, getting nine ground-outs in his six innings of work. Day allowed three hits, struck out two and walked one. He was charged with one unearned run.
"We pitched extremely well, which we hope keeps happening all year long," DiEduardo said. "Tim threw strikes. He only walked one batter, which was the only walk of the game for us. I don't know if he'll be a starter or not, but every time we put him out there, he gets the job done."
DiEduardo was able to get Kyle Wilson and Mike Ekstrom each an inning of work, and Paul Coleman struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to get the save.
The Oilers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ben Fritz led off the frame with a sharp single to left and advanced on a ground-out by Dusty Bensko.
Andy Dahl struck out, but Paul John Zobeck hit a smash down the third-base line. Dons third baseman Bryan Harris couldn't glove the ball with his backhand, and it bounced into dead-ball territory down the fence along the left-field line. Zobeck advanced to second, and Fritz motored home.
The Dons came back with an unearned run of their own in the top of the sixth when leadoff hitter Aaron Garcia reached on an error, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single to center by Chris Weems.
The Oilers were able to scrap for a run in the bottom of the inning to regain their lead, though. Joe Frazee celebrated his 20th birthday by beating out a bunt for a leadoff hit, stole second and advanced to third on a single by David Uribes.
With runners at first and third, the Oilers attempted a double steal. The Dons read the play, though, and Frazee was caught at home.
Uribes advanced to third on a single by Schuyler Mann, then scored what proved to be the game-winning when Kevin Mangels, playing in his first game with the Oilers, was safe on a fielder's choice.
The Oilers will face the Portland, Ore., Aloha Knights today at 7 p.m. at Coral Seymour Memorial Park. DiEduardo said he plans to start Randy Beam, a 6-foot-4, 215 left-handed pitcher from Florida Atlantic University.
OILERS 2, DONS 1
Dons ab r h bi Oilers ab r h bi
Guiliano rf 4 0 0 0 Frazee cf 4 0 2 0
Weems 2b 3 0 2 1 Uribes ss 4 1 2 0
Harris 3b 3 0 0 0 Mann dh 4 0 1 0
Flowers dh 4 0 0 0 Mangels 1b 3 0 0 1
Ryser cf 2 0 0 0 Fritz c 3 1 2 0
Thompson lf 4 0 1 0 Bensko 2b 3 0 0 0
Lane 1b 3 0 0 0 Dahl rf 3 0 0 0
Capon c 2 0 0 0 Zobeck lf 3 0 0 0
Garcia ss 3 1 0 0 Bacon 3b 3 0 1 0
Hyman ph 1 0 0 0 - - - - -
Jones c 0 0 0 0 - - - - -
Martinez ph 1 0 0 0 - - - - -
Totals 30 1 3 1 Totals 30 2 8 1
California 000 001 000 1
Peninsula 000 011 000 1
E Bacon, Harris, Uribes. LOB Dons 5, Oilers 3. DP Dons 2. 2B Weems. SB Uribes, Ryser, Frazee. CS Thompson, Weems, Frazee. S Guiliano.
Dons ip h r er bb so
Tyson, L 6 8 2 1 0 5
Neilson 2 0 0 0 0 3
T. Day, W 6 3 1 0 1 2
Wilson 1 0 0 0 0 1
Ekstrom 1 0 0 0 0 0
Coleman, S 1 0 0 0 0 2
HBP by Wilson (Ryser), by Ekstrom (Weems).
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