Immediately following only their second home loss of the season, the Peninsula Oilers appeared lost, wandering aimlessly around the dugout and infield while helping close the park for the evening
Although disappointed in the tough setback, Peninsula manager Daniel Boyle kind of enjoyed it.
"They're actually a little frustrated and it's a little different," Boyle said following the Oilers 5-1 loss to the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks Wednesday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park. "It's better.
"I do like it. It's not good losing, but I like the way they're acting. They're a little bitter," he added. "It seems that they care a little bit, more than it looked like sometimes on the road. But at the same time, it's never good to lose at home. But you've got to take the wins with the losses."
Credit the Oilers' 11th setback of the season to another trying evening at the plate and two costly errors in the field
One night after pulling out a miraculous 1-0 victory with three base hits in the bottom of the ninth off Goldpanners hurler Jonathan Kountis, who was throwing a perfect game until that point, the Oilers (15-11, 7-11 Alaska Baseball League) were again stymied by a Goldpanners starter.
This time it was Ryan Platt, who, with a slow and deliberate delivery, retired the first 15 Peninsula batters he faced.
"I thought we were going to come back and get some hits. I thought we had a good offensive club. I still think we have a good offensive club, we just don't have the right approach when we go to hit," Boyle explained. "Guys are struggling so they start to press more, so their swings change. They look to pull jerk rather than still trust the hands and just stay through the middle and trust what got them here."
Oilers' starter Matt Thomson was just as tough, though, surrendering only two hits and two walks before departing after walking Chris Tremblay to open the sixth.
That's when things got dicey.
Reliever Carlos Luna was called for a balk a play disputed by the Oilers' coaching staff pushing Tremblay to second, and Chris Valencia followed with a bloop bunt just over Luna's head.
Charging in from first, Ryan Wilkes scooped up the ball and tried to catch Tremblay at third, but the throw slipped by third baseman Toby Davis and Tremblay walked home with the game's first run, which was charged to Thomson.
"I have no idea what the balk was about. (The umpire) said something about spinning on his toe and I've never heard that before in my life," Boyle said. "It was kind a pivotal play, but at the same time, the next play, we get a bunt, we throw him out there.
"If we make the right play we have the guy thrown out at third," he added. "We just can't make a catch."
After Luna subsequently fanned Shawn Bard, catcher Joe Patterson threw wildly down to first in an attempted pickoff move, allowing both runners to move into scoring position.
They came home only four pitches later when Paul Martin singled to left field for a 3-0 Goldpanners advantage.
"It's about pitching and defense. And even though we got screwed by the umpire a couple of different times, we drop a ball, we can't play catch. Those are the big plays," Boyle said. "It wasn't about them doing anything really to beat us, we beat ourselves by not playing catch."
The Oilers finally scored in their half of the sixth when Patterson broke up Platt's bid for perfection with a well-hit double to center and Robert Lundy followed with an RBI double off the left field wall.
But the Goldpanners extended their cushion with a two-run eighth, snapping the Oilers' four-game winning streak before they hit the road for a 10-game trip following one more home game tonight.
"(Today's) game is big. I don't like to say any game's a must win because then you put a lot of pressure on your guys, you put a lot of pressure on the game. But every game's a big game. Every game you need a win," Boyle said. "You need to come out and play defense, you need to pitch well and you just need to execute. If we do that, we'll be fine (today), Friday, Saturday, Sunday the rest of the year."
Goldpanners 5, Oilers 1
Panners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Tremblay ss 3 1 0 0 Dabbs cf 4 0 0 0
Valencia rf 4 2 2 0 Wilkes 1b 3 0 0 0
Wyatt cf 3 2 1 0 Buss dh 4 0 1 0
Bard 1b 4 0 1 1 Mejia rf 4 0 0 0
Martin rf 2 0 1 3 Davis 3b 4 0 0 0
Dempsey 3b 4 0 0 0 Martinez ss 3 0 1 0
Stonecipher dh 4 0 0 0 Patterson c 3 1 1 0
Garneau c 4 0 2 0 Lundy lf 3 0 1 1
Ashenbrner 2b 3 0 0 0 Melton 2b 3 0 0 0
Totals 31 5 7 4 Totals 31 1 4 0
Alaska 000 003 020 5 7 0
Peninsula 000 001 000 1 4 2
E Wilkes, Patterson. DP Panners 0, Oilers 1. LOB Panners 4, Oilers 4. 2B Wyatt, Patterson, Lundy. SB Dempsey. S Ashenbrenner. SF Martin.
IP H R ER BB SO
Platt 6 1/3 2 1 1 1 3
Lightell 2 2/3 2 0 0 0 3
Thomson 5 2 1 1 2 2
Luna 2 4 4 4 1 2
Haug 1 1 0 0 0 0
Garcia 1 0 0 0 0 1
PB Platt, Thomson.
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