With Thursday's 15-0 thrashing of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, the Peninsula Oilers are poised to put some distance -- both figuratively and literally -- between themselves and the rest of the Alaska Baseball League.
Through Thursday, the Glacier Pilots had been the Oilers' closest pursuer in the ABL standings, entering their two-game series with the Oilers at Coral Seymour Memorial Park just 1 1/2 games back.
The Pilots now head back to Anchorage 3 1/2 games back while the Oilers will leave Alaska all together, hopping a plane Saturday morning to Hawaii for seven games against the Island Movers.
"It's not over yet," said Oilers head coach Gary Adcock. "Our hardest test is in front of us. We have seven days in sunny Hawaii, but we have to play stellar baseball at the same time.
"We've put ourselves in a position to be successful. Now we have to play it out."
Thursday's game was all Oilers, all the time as the Peninsula squad batted around in each of the first two innings while Oilers starter Ryan Prahm gave up two hits in six innings of work.
"I thought Ryan handled the long innings extremely well," Adcock said. "It's a tough game to pitch in when you sit for 20 minutes at a time. It's hard to get into a rhythm."
In fact, after giving up a leadoff single to Andy Neufeld in the first and a one-out triple to Randy Walter in the second, Prahm settled in and retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Though he did strike out a batter, Prahm issued just one base on balls, that to David Raymer in the third inning.
Brian Tarajack made his second appearance after coming back from a hamstring injury and one-hit the Glacier Pilots over two innings, striking out two batters and more importantly, pitching without any pain.
David Humen pitched the ninth for the Oilers, giving up one hit and striking out one.
"I thought we pitched as well as we hit today, and we hit pretty darn well," Adcock said.
The Oilers scored their 15 runs on 19 hits, led by Luke Simmons, who was 5-for-6 with a double, four runs and two batted in.
Hunter Brown went 4-for-4 with a pair of two-baggers, two RBIs and four runs scored, and Jeff Jones made his return to the Oilers lineup as the designated hitter, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and a pair of RBIs.
The Oilers chased Pilots starter Ben Quick, who plays for Adcock at Purdue University, from the mound after just two-thirds of an inning.
"You have some mixed emotions," Adcock said. "Ben's a great guy. He's a self-made player. I hope he wasn't struggling because he was hurting. Summer baseball is high stakes, but he's my No. 1 starter at Purdue."
After Quick's early exit, the Glacier Pilots sent four more pitchers to the mound -- Joe Bell, Doug Bernier, Chad Stewart and Tim Petke -- and while some of them slowed down the Oilers attack, not one was able to shut the Peninsula bats down completely.
"That was our best two complete games of the year, in every aspect," Adcock said. "We picked the ball up when we needed to, we came up with big hits and we pitched well."
The Oilers begin their series in Honolulu Sunday with a doubleheader at Rainbow Stadium scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The game will be aired on 920 AM radio.
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