Peninsula Oilers second baseman Juan Martinez tags Anchorage Glacier Pilots' Avery Barnes.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
A couple of friendly bounces, 18 hits and a pinch-hit home run the Peninsula Oilers must be home.
Joe Patterson went 3-for-3, Adam Younger homered and Matt Thomson pitched six solid innings as the Oilers erased any lingering memories of their 10-game losing streak by pounding the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, 12-3, Friday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
After opening the season with 11 consecutive victories in Kenai, the Oilers dropped their final home game before suffering through an 0-for-9 road trip.
Welcome back, Oilers.
"It's nice to be home," Peninsula manager Dan Boyle said. "That's for sure."
Batting .365 when they hit the road at 11-1, the Oilers returned to Kenai with an 11-10 overall record and a 3-10 mark in Alaska Baseball League action, while also hitting a dismal .261.
But it didn't take them long to find their comfort zone.
Led by Patterson, who entered Friday's contest hitting .167 (9-for-54) before knocking in a pair of runs and scoring three times on a night in which his parents attended their first Oilers game, every Peninsula starter recorded at least one hit, including newcomer Ryan Wilkes, who went 3-for-5 in only his second game with the club.
"They just got into Anchorage (Thursday)," Patterson said of his parents. "So, they saw me go 3-for-3. I think they helped me break my slump a little bit."
Perhaps they helped everybody, for that matter.
Including the pitchers.
Matt Thomson (4-1) was dominating on the mound, allowing only two runs on seven hits before paving the way for Matt Wade (one run), Carlos Luna and Hiarali Garcia to close the game with one strong inning apiece.
"It feels real good to have the fans be on our side," Thomson said.
Allowing a first-inning run on a pair of singles, Thomson surrendered a double in the second inning before quelling the threat by getting the next three batters to ground out.
Never walking a batter, he struck out the side in the third and allowed only four more hits over the ensuing three innings while surrendering only his second run in the sixth.
"I think we were all just fed up with losing to be honest with you," said Thomson. "I mean, we put up 12 runs, 18 hits. We played baseball (Friday), which is something kind of that we lost."
The damage could have been worse in the sixth, though, as Pilots' designated hitter Jace Whitner sent a routine grounder to shortstop Juan Martinez, who appeared to get Whitner at first when the umpire called him out.
With the Oilers on their way to the dugout, another ump ruled Whitner safe, leaving runners on first and second with two outs.
But Thomson settled any debate by inducing Tony Pechek to fly out on one pitch.
"A big part of it was the first couple games on the road, they were tough losses. When you have tough losses, it's almost a trickle effect where you've got to find a spark or get something going to get it going the other way," Boyle said. "We definitely had bad bounces when we were on the road. We had a ball bounce this way, a ball bounce that way, it may have been different.
"But at the same time, it starts with your guys and it starts with them changing those balls bouncing the right way."
The Oilers wasted no time in doing exactly that.
Owning a 2-1 lead in the second inning after erasing a 1-0 first-inning deficit, they erupted for three runs in the third and fifth innings and four more in the sixth.
With one out and one on in the third, Juan Martinez was hit by a pitch before Patterson singled home Robert Lundy for a 3-1 advantage. Following another base hit by Wilkes, Michael Dabbs (2-for-3, 3 RBIs) was also beaned by Chris Smith (three innings, five runs, six hits), forcing in Martinez.
Kyle Melton then sent a chopper to third baseman Mike Murphy, who had it bounce off his chest, allowing Melton to reach and Patterson to score for a commanding 5-1 lead.
But they weren't don't yet.
Fifth-inning singles by Martinez (which took a lucky hop over first baseman Matt Wagner's head), Patterson, Dabbs, Melton, Buss and Jeremiah Mejia extended the lead to 8-1.
Averaging slightly more than two runs a game over the last 10 losses, the Oilers were still hungry for more.
Lundy opened the sixth with a base hit to left field, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Patterson roped the first offering from Cody Neer into right.
An RBI triple to center by Wilkes made it 10-2 before Dabbs added a sacrifice fly and Younger sent a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence for his first home run of the season and an insurmountable 12-2 lead.
"The big thing is hitting is contagious," Boyle explained. "When you start to hit you get a little more confidence and that next guy has confidence and that next guy has confidence.
"It starts with getting a few runs early so you're not pressing to get that run in the seventh or the eighth."
Oilers 12, Pilots 3
Pilots AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Williams cf 5 1 3 1 Dabbs rf 3 2 2 3
Barnes 2b 3 1 1 0 Melton 2b 3 1 2 0
Murphy 3b 4 0 1 1 Younger ph 2 1 1 1
Wagner 1b 4 0 2 1 Buss cf 5 0 1 1
Whitner dh 3 0 1 0 Mejia lf 5 0 1 1
Pecheck c 3 0 0 0 Davis 3b 5 0 2 0
Wynne ph 1 0 0 0 Lundy dh 5 2 1 0
Cox lf 4 1 2 0 Martinez ss 3 2 1 0
Daniels rf 4 0 1 0 Patterson c 3 3 3 2
Barrows ss 4 0 0 0 Pollack ph 1 0 1 0
---- -- -- -- -- Wilkes 1b 5 1 3 2
Totals 35 3 11 3 Totals 40 12 18 10
Anchorage 100 001 100 3 11 3
Peninsula 113 034 00x 12 18 1
E Murphy. DP Pilots 1, Oilers 2. LOB Pilots 6, Oilers 9. 2B Williams, Whitner, Davis. 3B Wilkes. HR Younger. SF Murphy, Dabbs. S Patterson. SB Williams, Cox, Dabbs, Lundy. CS Martinez.
IP H R ER BB SO
Smith, L 3 6 5 3 2 3
Soignier 2 6 3 3 0 2
Neer 2 5 4 4 0 0
Wynne 1 1 0 0 1 0
Thomson, W 6 7 2 2 0 3
Wade 1 2 1 1 0 0
Luna 1 1 0 0 0 2
Garcia 1 1 0 0 0 0
HBP by Smith (Dabbs, Martinez). WP Neer.
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