Oilers, Heroes play to 2-2 tie

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010

For a second day in a row, Mother Nature disrupted the Peninsula Oilers schedule. After Tuesday's game was rained out, the Oilers were to host a doubleheader against the Heroes of the Diamond. However, not even one full game could be played due to more rain.

The teams played to a 2-2 draw in eight innings Wednesday night before the game was called at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

"It was challenging at the end," Heroes head coach Terry "Crash" Allvord said. "The conditions were just garbage."

"You just have to play through it," Oilers head coach Dennis Machado said. "That's just part of baseball."

The Heroes are comprised of anyone connected to the U.S. military -- active duty, veterans, border patrol, etc. All the players have to pay their own way to be on the team. Allvord created the team in 1990. From March through October, the team travels all over the world playing baseball. The Heroes have played in 45 states and eight countries, Allvord said.

While in flight school, Allvord said former U.S. president, George H.W. Bush, asked him how the baseball team was. After hearing there wasn't a team, Allvord said Bush told him how important baseball was to soldiers' morale during World War II. That conversation was the catalyst that drove Allvord to create the program.

The team gives soldiers an option when they return home from war, Allvord said. It's also an opportunity to meet people, he said.

"It's a great way to further patriotism," Allvord said.

With America's involvement in the Middle East, there's much turnover on the team. Some players only stay for a couple weeks, Allvord said.

"We rotate through quite a bunch," he said.

Davis Page and Justin Charles hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Both found the gap between the first and second basemen.

Nathan Theunissen started the inning with a leadoff single. After Kenny Wise struck out, Joe Kohan got the first of three consecutive singles. Page's single brought Theunissen home and Charles' hit drove in Kohan. Four of the Oilers' seven total hits came in the second.

The Heroes tied the game with two solo home runs in the top of the fifth. Matt Powell hit a leadoff home run to start the inning and cut the Oilers lead in half. Two batters later Alan Bruce homered.

After Powell's shot, Oilers starter Kellen Moen walked Joe Inzone. But Moen got Ray Judy to hit into a 5-4-3 double play prior to Bruce's at-bat.

The Heroes were held to just two hits through the first four innings. Three of their five total hits came in the fifth.

"Our bats finally came alive," Allvord said.

"They made plays when they needed to," Machado said.

The Heroes had a chance to take the lead with two outs in the sixth inning when Powell and Marquez advanced to second and third base, respectively, on a passed ball. But reliever Mike Wolford preserved the tie by striking out Inzone.

In the bottom of the inning, a two-strike sacrifice bunt by Wise moved Theunissen into scoring position. But he was left stranded and the score remained 2-2 after six.

After a leadoff walk to start the seventh, Wolford got Henry Santos to hit into a 6-3 double play to end the inning. The Oilers stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings -- both games were to be seven-inning games due to the doubleheader.

The Oilers stranded eight total base runners.

"We had a lot of opportunities to win that game," Machado said.

Taylor Garrison made quick work of the Heroes in the top of the eighth. He recorded two strikeouts and saw just three batters.

The Heroes gave the Oilers several different looks, and four different pitchers made an appearance in the final inning.

"Those guys made some pitches when they had to," Machado said.

Theunissen drew a leadoff walk and Wise was then hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the eighth. The Heroes then crowded the infield, leaving just two outfielders. The added defenders paid off and Kohan's sacrifice bunt turned into a 1-5-3 double play.

Davis Page and Charles then each drew walks. With the bases loaded and the count full, Jeff Popick struck out on a called third strike on what appeared to be a pitch outside the strike zone. The game was called immediately after.

Machado said the team had its chances to win and the game wasn't summed up in that one at-bat.

"It ended the way it should have," Allvord said.

The Oilers host the Athletes in Action Fire tonight at 7 p.m.



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