Oilers take first ABL game of seasonBy CHARLES PULLIAMPeninsula Clarion The Peninsula Oilers won the first game of a three-game series against the Athletes in Action Alaska Fire 5-1 in the Oilers' first Alaska Baseball League game on a windy Father's Day Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park at Kenai.
"Its a good way to start (ABL play)," Oilers' shortstop Nick Kliebert said. "We were lucky enough to get some timely hits."
The Oilers had 14 hits in the game, including three doubles.
Oilers' pitcher Dave Pellegrine started the game on the mound, but the Fire's first two at-bats resulted in base hits. Infield hits by Rick Simpson and Luke McLean allowed them to take bases, and McLean would later score the first run of the game on a rather confusing call.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Fire designated hitter Chris Simpson started to take his base because he thought he was hit by Pellegrine's pitch. He wasn't. Essentially, the runners on base were stealing as they advanced, and McLean scored after being declared safe by the umpire as he slid into home plate. The Oilers caught onto the play too late to stop the run, but Pellegrine caught Simpson on his way to first base, which was still occupied, for the final out as the controversial half of the first inning came to a close.
"It was a very shaky start (for both teams)," Oilers' coach Mike Coutts said, "We were able to right ourselves though."
John McCarthy attempted to fire the Oilers up in the second inning with a deep double into right field. McCarthy's try for the Oilers' first run was denied at the plate, though, after a bunt attemt from Nathan Faulkner failed to score the run.
Instead, the Oilers' first run came from Jake Kahaulelio in the bottom of the third inning. Nick Kliebert's single allowed Kahaulelio to score to knot the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kliebert earned his second RBI of the game with a line drive single that allowed Luke Salas to score. McCarthy would hit an off-the-wall double, his second of the game, on the next at bat to send Kliebert home as the Oilers' opened a 3-1 lead.
Kliebert would be set up once again following singles by Salas and Kahaulelio in the seventh inning.
"I got ahold of some good pitches ... it was like deja-vu," Kliebert said of getting set up to bring in the scoring runs.
Salas would go on to score his second run as the Oilers' lead swelled to 4-1.
"(Nick) Kliebert and (John) McCarthy swung the bats well today," coach Coutts said.
Kliebert finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBI's, while McCarthy was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Salas added three hits and two runs.
The Oilers scored the final run of the game in the eighth inning when Jared McGuire crossed home plate following a Justin Scutchfield hit.
The hit struck some controversy, though, as the Fire's shortstop may have been in the base runners' path and the hit itself possibly was a ground-rule double.
Either way, coach Coutts was glad to see Scutchfield's hit and get the win.
"Its good to see Justin (Scutchfield) drive in a run and get a hit," coach Coutts said. "He's been struggling slightly ... but when you pitch well and play defense you can get the win."
Oilers' pitcher Brian Chambers earned the win after allowing only one hit through three innings and throwing five strikeouts.
"Chambers pitched tough," coach Coutts said. "Pellegrine didn't bring his best, but he battled."
The Oilers host the Fire again today at 7 p.m. at Coral Seymour Memorial Park at Kenai.
Oilers 5, AIA 1
AIA Alaska 100 000 000 1 7 1
Peninsula 001 020 11x 5 14 1
E McGuire, Reynolds. LOB Fire 7, Oilers 9. DP Fire 1, Oilers 2. SB Salas, Kliebert. 2B McCarthy (2), Scutchfield, McGuire, Maloney.
Fire IP H R ER BB SO
Henderson 5 9 3 3 1 3
Smith, L 3 3 0 0 0 0
Bingham 1 2 1 1 0 0
Pellegrine 5 6 1 1 2 1
Enright 1 0 0 0 1 0
Chambers, W 3 1 0 0 1 5
WP Enright, LP Smith. HBP by Pellegrine (Carr), by Bingham (Faulkner).
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