The Peninsula Oilers got another win under their belts Thursday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park, defeating the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks 3-1 in Alaska Baseball League competition.
Not only was the win big for the Oilers as the team tries to stay in the hunt for one of the league's two berths to the National Baseball Congress World Series, it was big for Damian Stambersky, who took over head coaching duties after the departure of Brian Green for the University of Hawaii and the land of the Rainbow Warriors.
Stambersky said he didn't feel any extra butterflies prior to his head coaching debut, but his heart did skip a beat in the top of the ninth when the Panners' Todd Jennings sent a long fly ball toward the left field fence with runners on second and third and one out.
Stambersky said pitching coach Kyle DiEduardo told him to relax, the batter had been jammed, and Oilers left fielder Chris Graziano was able to get under the ball, limiting Jennings to just one run batted in on the sacrifice fly.
Adrian Schau got one more out with a line drive straight at shortstop Rusty Beale to end the game and earn the save, his fifth of the season.
"We knew Schau was ready, and we knew he was the right man for the situation," Stambersky said.
Photo by Scott Moon
Oilers continue homestand vs ALB foe Alaska Goldpanners
Photo by M. SCOTT MOON
In fact, the Oilers had some great pitching all night. Starter Jake Postlewait threw six shutout innings, allowing just one hit, a slow infield dribbler to third. Postlewait struck out two and walked one.
Noel Clark came on in relief in the seventh and gave up a run on three hits in two innings of work before Schau took the mound and shut the door in the ninth.
The Oilers got production from both ends of their lineup at the plate. Graziano, batting in the leadoff spot, walked to lead off the Oilers' half of the first inning, stole second and scored on a two-out single to left by Jerrod Brown.
At the bottom of the order, catcher Paul Richie led off the seventh with a walk and scored on a triple to right field by Beale, the No. 9 hitter.
"We rolled the dice," Stambersky said. "We had the bunt on, but we took it off to give Rusty a chance. If he got a pitch up, he could go ahead and whack at it. We didn't go by the book, but I had a hunch."
Stambersky's hunch was right as Beale got the fastball he was looking for and drilled it over the right fielder's head.
"In the nine-spot you get more fastballs," Beale said. "If you get one down the middle, you've gotta take advantage of it."
Graziano followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Beale.
The Oilers also put together an error-free night in the field.
"We're starting to get there," Beale said. "At first, it took some time for us to get used to the field, but the whole game of baseball is about making adjustments."
Stambersky was pleased to see the Oilers, now 10-11 in ABL play and 13-17 overall, continue to compete despite the coaching change.
"I'd like to thank these guys for playing hard," Stambersky said. "With a change in leadership, these guys had a chance to take a break. They didn't. They came out, played hard, and executed."
The Oilers will continue their series with the Goldpanners tonight. Mike Davern (1-1) is scheduled to take the mound for the Oilers. Game time is 7 p.m.
OILERS 3, GOLDPANNERS 1
Panners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Haag 3b 3 1 0 0 Graziano lf 2 1 1 1
Perez cf 3 0 1 0 Wahlbrink cf 3 0 0 0
Ryan 2b 4 0 0 0 Schutznhfr 1b 3 0 0 0
Jennings c 3 0 0 1 Brown dh 3 0 1 1
Robinson rf 3 0 0 0 Griffin 2b 3 0 0 0
Redfern dh 3 0 1 0 Kolkhorst rf 3 0 1 0
Rogers lf 3 0 0 0 Cox 3b 4 0 0 0
Averill 1b 3 0 2 0 Richie c 2 1 0 0
Girard ss 2 0 0 0 Beale ss 3 1 2 1
Montgomery ph 1 0 0 0 --- - - - -
Totals 28 1 4 1 Totals 26 3 5 3
Alaska 000 000 001 -- 1
Peninsula 100 000 20x -- 3
DP -- Panners 1, Oilers 1. LOB -- Panners 4, Oilers 5. 2B -- Perez, Redfern. 3B -- Beale. SB -- Graziano, Griffin. SF -- Jennings, Graziano.
IP H R ER BB SO
Kaiser, L 6 1-3 6 3 3 4 8
Basch 1 2-3 0 0 0 1 2
Postlewait, W 6 1 0 0 1 2
Clark 2 3 1 1 1 0
Schau, S 1 0 0 0 0 0
Clark pitched to 2 batters in the 9th.
WP -- Kaiser, Basch. PB -- Jennings. HBP -- by Kaiser (Griffin), by Basch (Schutzenhofer).
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