Two weeks ago, the Peninsula Oilers were scoring runs the old-fashioned way -- stringing together a single, a sacrifice bunt, maybe a hit-and-run or a stolen base to manufacture a score.
But the Oilers seem to have moved on from that philosophy, moving runners and scoring runs by swinging the bat and driving the ball to the deepest reaches of Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The Oilers continued to pound the ball Thursday night, downing the visiting Mat-Su Miners 5-2 in the opening game of a four-game Alaska Baseball League series.
The series continues today and Saturday with 7 p.m. games and concludes with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
"Leave the little game for the little guys. We don't have too many little guys on this team," said Wilton Reynolds, the Oilers' 6-foot-4, 195-pound right fielder, after stroking an RBI double to left field in the seventh inning.
Reynolds' double scored Brian Horwitz for the Oilers' second run of the seventh inning. Jefferson Thiel led off the inning with a single, stole second and scored on Horwitz's single to left. In a close play at the plate, Thiel was able to slide headfirst to the inside of Miners catcher Todd Jennings to avoid the tag.
The seventh-inning offense secured the victory for Oilers starting pitcher Chris Reilly, who went 6 2-3 innings, striking out 10 batters while walking just two and allowing one hit. Reilly was charged with two runs, both unearned, after the Miners were able to load the bases on a walk, a hit batsman, and a two-out walk in the top of the seventh inning.
Doug Silva, fresh off the plane from UCLA, came on in relief of Reilly. The Miners plated two runs on a passed ball and a wild pitch, and designated hitter Mike Oseguera hit what appeared to be a game-tying double to right field.
The Oilers appealed on the play at first base, though. Oseguera was ruled out for not touching the base and after an extended conference, the umpires took the tying run off the board.
The Oilers built their three-run lead with two runs in the fourth inning and another in the sixth.
Mark Teahen led off the Oilers' half of the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to third base on Jamie D'Antona's double down the line to right.
Luke Simmons drove in a run with his sacrifice fly to right field, and Creighton Kahoalii made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to left.
Teahen was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning for the Oilers and moved all the way over to third base on a wild pitch. Teahen scored on Simmons' bloop single to shallow right field.
Silva struggled through the eighth inning, hitting a pair of Miners batters, but he shook off the jet lag to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off the game.
"It gets the momentum on our side," Reynolds said of winning the first game in a series. "Now they're feeling down, and we're one-up. It's always a good thing to take the first game."
Reynolds said that the Oilers' evolution from small ball to free swinging has just been a matter of fine-tuning their cuts with the wood bats.
"Our guys are just now finding their swing," Reynolds said. "Before, we had to bunt. It was just a matter of fine-tuning, and now we've got guys coming up with clutch hits. You always have more fun swinging."
OILERS 5, MINERS 2
Miners ab r h bi Oilers ab r h bi
Saba lf 3 0 0 0 Reynolds rf 3 0 1 1
Randall 2b 3 0 0 0 Teahen 2b 2 2 0 0
Griffin 3b 2 1 1 0 D'Antona 3b 4 1 1 0
McIntyre rf 4 0 0 0 Simmons 1b 4 0 1 2
Hofius 1b 3 1 0 0 Kahoalii dh 3 0 0 1
Jennings c 4 0 0 0 Thiel c 4 1 2 0
Bauder cf 4 0 0 0 Dragicevich ss 3 0 0 0
Oseguera dh 3 0 0 0 Cunnningham lf 3 0 0 0
Melendez ss 3 0 0 0 Horwitz cf 3 1 1 1
Totals 29 2 1 0 Totals 29 5 6 5
Mat-Su 000 000 200 -- 2
Peninsula 000 201 20x -- 5
E -- Cunningham, Thiel. DP -- Miners 1. LOB -- Miners 5, Oilers 4. 2B -- D'Antona, Thiel, Reynolds. SB -- Reynolds, Thiel. CS -- Griffin. SF --Simmons, Kahoalii.
ip h r er bb so
Little, L 5 1-3 3 3 3 2 5
Alvarez 1 2-3 3 3 3 0 2
Oseguera 1 0 0 0 1 0
Reilly, W 6 2-3 1 2 0 2 10
Silva 2 1-3 0 0 0 0 2
HBP --by Reilly (Saba, Hofius), by Little (Teahen), by Silva (Randall, Griffin). WP -- Reilly, Little, Silva. PB -- Thiel.
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