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Disputed call helps Oilers edge Seattle

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2000

Persecution complexes and conspiracy theorists aside, most sports observers agree that calls made by umpires and officials eventually even out.

A good case in point would be the first two games of the series between the Peninsula Oilers and Seattle Studs, the second of which the Oilers took 4-3 Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

In Saturday's 2-1 victory by the Studs, Seattle got its winning run on board when Oilers catcher Joe Hietpas couldn't handle the third strike on Seattle's Gavin Hare.

Oilers manager Gary Adcock vehemently protested the call, contending Hare had foul tipped the ball. But, as it always does, the call stood and Hare eventually came around with the winning run.

Fast forward to Saturday.

The teams are all tied up again -- this time 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Oilers are threatening with a runner on second and one out when Jim Anderson hits a routine grounder to second base.

The throw pulls first baseman Brooks Barkley off the home-plate side of the bag, but Barkley instinctively reaches to tag Anderson before he can touch the bag.

Did he miss the tag? That depends on the source.

The umpires ruled Barkley missed the tag, putting runners at the corners with one out. Pinch hitter Michael Falco proceeded to knock in the winning run on a weak grounder to shortstop -- a weak grounder that would have ended the inning if Anderson had been ruled out.

Studs manager Mark Dow didn't agree with the umpires. He stormed the field, just as vehemently as Adcock had done the night before, to tell them as much. In fact, maybe a little more vehemently because he earned the umpire's thumb for his display.

"I don't think there's question that, that call was a turning point in the game," Dow said. "That ground ball should have gotten us out of the inning.

"Instead, they scored a run because he missed a call."

On the other side of the diamond, the Oilers had a different version of the play. Anderson said he turned so the tag went through him.

"A lot of times, that's a call the umpire just automatically says is an out," Anderson said. "That's why I was surprised when he called me safe.

"You don't see it a lot, but that's just the way it goes."

While the call was the most talked about play of the game, Adcock was quick to point out after the game that one call does not a game make.

"That's the funny thing about baseball," Adcock said. "A play happens late in the game and that's what everybody focuses on.

"There is not a mention of plays earlier in the game that were just as important to the outcome."

Peninsula was in a position to win the game when the ump's call happened because of strong pitching by David Humen and a fast start at the plate.

Humen, in relief of starter Philip Tribe, upped his record to 2-0 on the year by pitching four scoreless innings.

The right-hander even got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth inning.

"It took me a little bit to get going," said Humen, who struck out five. "The first pitch I threw after I walked the bases loaded was when I finally started to feel comfortable."

Peninsula, which scored just one run in 11 innings Saturday, scored three in the first Sunday on RBI singles from Luke Simmons, Tim McKabe and Brad Carlson.

The Oilers had five hits in the first inning, but Adcock is still concerned about the team because it produced just four base knocks the rest of the contest. None of the Oilers nine base hits went for extra bases.

"That's just 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds," said Adcock, whose team is now 8-2. "We're trying to get them focused and energized for 2 1/2 to three hours.

"That's not easy to do."

The rubber game in the series will be today at 7 p.m. at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.



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