Yes, the Peninsula Oilers’ 6-5 victory against the Lake Erie Monarchs on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai had its rough moments.
There was the first inning, where the Oilers couldn’t score with the bases loaded and no outs, or the third inning, where the home team failed to push a run across with the bases drunk and one out.
There also were painful moments on defense. In the fourth inning, the Oilers failed to cover second base on a steal and the ball went into center field. In the ninth inning, a throwing error by shortstop Austin Yount allowed a run to score and the tying run to reach third base.
But, with his team 8-2 overall despite still using coaches in the field and playing players out-of-position while waiting for other team members to arrive, Oilers coach Thad Johnson isn’t about to complain.
“I’m very happy with the team,” Johnson said. “We don’t have our whole team here yet, but we’re still out there playing with intensity.”
Johnson said failing to score with the bases loaded in the first and third innings stemmed from hitters swinging instead of taking stock of the situation and executing accordingly.
The coach said the Oilers executed better as the game went on. Down 2-0, the Oilers loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning.
Jordan Opdyke drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch, while another run scored when Andy Preston grounded into a double play.
Facing a 4-2 deficit entering the eighth inning, the Oilers collected five of their 12 hits to rally and take a 6-4 lead.
With runners on second and third and one out, Yount doubled to the right-field wall to tie the game.
Chris Nelson then grounded a ball to the hole between shortstop and third base. Monarchs shortstop Sergio Morales fielded the ball and Yount was caught in a rundown.
The rundown ended with a bang-bang play at third base and the umpire ruled that Yount had eluded the tag. The play infuriated the Monarchs coach and after a long argument he was ejected.
Instead of a runner on first with two outs, the Oilers had runners on first and third with one out. The team capitalized on a run-scoring single by Daniel Boyle and a sacrifice fly by Brian Van Kirk to take a 6-4 lead.
In the top of the ninth, there was a runner at first with two outs when Kyle Maunus grounded to Yount. Attempting to get the runner at second, Yount, normally a third baseman, launched his throw into the right-field corner, allowing Morales to score and Maunus to reach third.
Ryan Mottern, who had been playing first base but is normally a pitcher and designated hitter, came in and walked a batter before striking out Erich Diedrich to record the save.
“(Mottern) came in and picked me up at a good time,” said Yount, who is the nephew of Hall of Famer Robin Yount. “It was a good team effort.”
The backbone of the Oilers winning ways has been the pitching staff, which entered the game with an ERA of 1.58.
With the exception of costly wildness, the pitchers were solid again, with starter Jordan Meaker giving up two runs and five hits in five innings and winner Ryan Tatusko yielding three runs (two earned) on four hits in 3 2-3 innings.
The only problem Johnson had with his pitchers was walks. The three pitchers combined to walk six batters, and three of those walks became runs. Prior to Sunday, the Oilers staff had walked just 20 batters in nine games.
Two of the walks that scored were leadoff walks.
“You just can’t do that,” Johnson said. “It seems like leadoff walks always score.”
OILERS 6, MONARCHS 5
LE AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Leady rf 5 0 2 0 Nelson cf 5 1 2 0
Williams c 5 0 0 0 Gerloff ss 1 0 1 0
Morales ss 4 2 1 0 Boyle 2b 2 1 2 1
Maunus 3b 5 0 0 0 Van Kirk rf 2 1 1 1
Nadeau 2b 3 0 1 1 Newby lf 4 0 1 0
Crepeau pr 0 1 0 0 Opdyke c 3 0 1 1
Diedrich 1b 4 0 2 0 Preston 3b 4 0 0 0
Gunn dh 3 1 1 1 Mottern 3 1 1 0
Swint cf 3 1 2 1 Masuda dh 4 1 1 0
Davis lf 4 0 0 0 Yount 2b 4 1 2 2
Totals 36 5 9 3 Totals 32 6 12 5
Lake Erie 001 100 021 5
Peninsula 000 020 04X 6
E Gerloff, Opdyke, Yount. DP Monarchs 1. LOB Monarchs 10, Oilers 10. 2B Gunn, Swint, Masuda, Yount. SB Morales, Leady, Crepeau, Nelson. CS Williams, Leady. S Davis. SF Van Kirk.
IP H R ER BB SO
Wammes 4 5 2 2 4 0
Verkest 3 2 0 0 0 0
Gatins, L 1-3 3 3 3 0 0
Roberts 2-3 2 1 1 0 0
Meaker 5 5 2 2 3 2
Tatusko, W 3 2-3 4 3 2 2 4
Mottern, S 1-3 0 0 0 1 0
Wammes pitched to three batters in the fifth.
WP Wammes, Roberts. HBP by Wammes (Boyle, Newby); by Verkest (Opdyke).
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