Oilers complete sweep of Bucs

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010

It doesn't always work for the Peninsula Oilers like it did in Sunday's 3-0 victory over the Anchorage Bucs at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

But when things go the way they did Sunday, it's easy to see why the Oilers are commonly touted as one of the premier summer collegiate baseball organizations for players in the country.

Show up to an impeccably groomed ballpark of green fecundity on an azure day featuring refreshing breeze, temperatures in the mid-60s and several hundred enthusiastic fans.

Win the game in a little more than two hours using the organization hallmarks of solid pitching, clutch defense and timely hitting.

Go off and spend the evening and the next day in the paradise that is the Kenai Peninsula in summer with teammates, or, even better, with family.

"I'll give them tomorrow off because a lot of players have family in town," Oilers coach Dennis Machado said. "Hopefully, they can get out and catch some fish and enjoy a day off from baseball."

Eddie Orozco pitched six scoreless innings to improve to 2-1, Jorge Marban picked up his fourth save and Tyler Grimes scored his team-leading 20th and 21st runs to lead the Oilers to the victory.

The Oilers improved to 19-11 in the Alaska Baseball League with the sweep of the Bucs and a fourth straight victory, but remained in third place, 2 1/2 games behind the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.

The Panners topped Athletes in Action on Sunday to improve to 19-6, while the Mat-Su Miners defeated the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to improve to 19-7 and remain a half game in back of the Panners.

The Bucs, who lost their seventh straight and are 7-15, out-hit the Oilers 6-5 but lost in the crucial departments of timely hitting and defense.

Two of the Oilers' three runs were unearned. In the first, Grimes walked off of hard-luck loser Zach White, then advanced to second on a passed ball before scoring on a hit by Ryan Gebhart.

In the eighth, Stephen Piscotty, leading the team with a .344 batting average, doubled to start the inning and advanced to third on an error by third baseman Su Wei-Ta before scoring on a double-play grounder by Jeff Popick.

Meanwhile, the errorless Oilers defense was preventing runs, not causing them.

The Bucs led off with doubles in both the third and fourth innings to no avail. In the third, Zach Vincej singled but Jimmy Appleby was gunned down at the plate. Center fielder Gebhart hit cutoff man Patrick Wisdom, who threw in time to plate-blocking catcher Ryan Hege.

"When there's runners on first and second or second and third and you're a position player, you want to be the guy that gets the ball so you can make a play," Gebhart said.

Orozco said having a runner thrown out at the plate gives the pitcher a huge boost of confidence. "Everybody did their job on that play," Orozco said. "Gebhart made a great throw, the relay was perfect and Hege blocked the plate.

"The runner beat the throw but he never touched the bag. It was a great call by the ump."

Both Machado and Gebhart said the Oilers' staff is an easy outfit for which to play defense.

"For us, our defense starts with our pitching," Gebhart said. "They throw strikes so that keeps us on our toes out in the field."

In the fourth inning, Wei-Ta led off with a double, but he was thrown out at third by Orozco on a sacrifice bunt attempt. "(Garrett) Wittels made a great read there," Orozco said. "He stayed home so when I went to make the throw, it was easy because he was already straddling the bag."

The Oilers, who have a staff ERA of 2.25, then got another solid performance from the bullpen in the last three innings. Kellen Moen, Chad Smith and Marban combined to give up three hits and no runs.

On offense, Grimes and Gebhart, hitting first and second respectively, continued to cause problems.

After the two teamed up to provide the run in the first, Grimes, who was on base after all four plate appearances and stole two bases, walked to lead off the third. Gebhart followed with a single, then Piscotty, who was 2-for-4, singled to score Grimes.

"He's always finding his way on," said Gebhart of Grimes. "To have a 1-2 punch like we have makes it tough on the pitcher."

Gebhart, who finished 2-for-4, added that the Oilers Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters are so good that if pitchers try and pitch around the top of the order, the meat of the order will make those pitchers pay.

"It's a win-win situation for us," Gebhart said, adding having his father, Jim, mother, Karen, brother, Seth, and girlfriend Natalie Rosato in town gave him extra motivation Sunday.

Orozco said when chasing red-hot teams like the Panners and Miners, the Oilers can't get too far ahead of themselves.

"We're just taking it one game, one inning at a time," he said. "When we get the lead we have to keep the lead and win the games we are supposed to win."

The Oilers continue the homestand by hosting the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Oilers 3, Bucs 0

Bucs AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Pinda 2b 3 0 0 0 Grimes ss 1 2 0 0

Atwd cf 4 0 1 0 Gbhrt cf 4 0 2 1

Wei-Ta 3b 4 0 1 0 Psctty lf 4 1 2 1

TPzza 1b 4 0 1 0 Wsdm 1b 4 0 0 0

Rohan lf 4 0 1 0 Wttls 3b 3 0 0 0

Sllvan rf 3 0 0 0 Ppick dh 4 0 0 0

Applby dh 3 0 1 0 Hege c 2 0 1 0

Crank c 2 0 0 0 Page c 1 0 0 0

DPzza c 1 0 0 0 Kohan 2b 3 0 0 0

Vincj ss 3 0 1 0 Mdign rf 2 0 0 0

---- -- -- -- -- Miller ph 1 0 0 0

Totals 31 0 6 0 Totals 29 3 5 2

Anchorage 000 000 000 --0

Peninsula 101 000 01X --3

E -- Vincej, Wei-Ta 2. DP -- Bucs 2. LOB -- Bucs 6, Oilers 7. 2B -- Appleby, Wei-Ta, Piscotty. SB -- Grimes 2, Wisdom. CS -- Sullivan, Wittels.

IP H R ER BB SO

Bucs

White, L 6 2-3 4 2 1 3 4

Hernandez 1 1-3 1 1 0 1 0

Oilers

Orozco 6 3 0 0 2 5

Moen 2-3 2 0 0 0 1

Smith 1 1-3 1 0 0 0 2

Marban, S 1 0 0 0 0 0

PB -- Crank, D. Piazza. HP -- by White (Grimes). WP -- Orozco.



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