The Peninsula Oilers defeated the Anchorage Bucs 4-3 in 12 innings on Monday night in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The hero was Sean Madigan, who came to the plate in the bottom of the 12th with one out and runners on second and third. Patrick Wisdom was cut down at the plate when Madigan missed the bunt on a suicide squeeze. Madigan made up for the miss when he singled to score Davis Page from second. The 22-year-old said it was the first walkoff hit of his career.
A crucial error by Bucs shortstop Zach Vincej earlier in the 12th inning set the table for the winning rally. Wisdom was at second with one out when Page grounded to Vincej. Wisdom was caught between second and third, but Vincej threw wildly to third, allowing Wisdom to take third and Page to take second.
The win is the 10th in 11 games for the Oilers and cools down the Bucs, who came in having won five of seven. Peninsula improves to 25-12 in the Alaska Baseball League and 7-1 vs. the Bucs and moves to one game of the first-place Mat-Su Miners, who were idle Monday and are at 23-8. The Oilers are tied for second place with the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks (23-10).
Today, as the Oilers host the Bucs again at 7 p.m., the Miners start a road trip to Fairbanks where they will play nine games in seven days. The first four of those games are against the Panners. In all, the Miners have seven games left against the Panners.
The Oilers came back from a 3-2 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth off of reliever Justin Hopper. Tyler Grimes led off the inning with a single, then moved to second on a sacrifice by Ryan Gebhart. Stephen Piscotty then singled to put runners on first and third.
Ryan Hege worked a 2-2 count on Hopper as Piscotty stole second. Hopper then threw a pitch which originally was ruled a strikeout, but the plate umpire talked with the field umpire and a foul tip in the dirt was ruled. Hege then hit a ground ball that third baseman Su Wei-Ta booted, allowing Grimes to score and Piscotty to go to third with one out. Garrett Wittels then hit into a double play to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.
The Bucs came right back with a great chance in the top of the 10th inning off of reliever Taylor Garrison. The Bucs opened the inning with three straight singles -- the last two coming on bunts. Ryan Pineda then grounded to shortstop Grimes, who cut down the runner at the plate. Eddie Rohan hit into a double play as Garrison escaped unscathed.
In the 10th inning, Justin Charles doubled with one away, but Page and Madigan struck out to end that threat.
In the 11th inning, Gebhart walked with one out and stole second after two were out. Jeff Popick then walked, but Wittels flew out to end the threat.
The comeback by the Oilers made up for defensive letdowns. All three of the runs the Bucs scored off of starter Cody Kendall were unearned. Kendall worked the first 5 1-3 innings and gave up three hits.
After the Bucs took a 2-0 lead in the fourth, the Oilers tied the game in the fifth. Madigan again played a huge role in that rally, singling with two outs to score a pair of runners.
The Oilers bullpen allowed Peninsula a chance to win the game. In the sixth inning, Mike Wolford came in with runners on second and third and one out. Wolford walked two straight to give the Bucs a 3-2 lead, but then buckled down with a strikeout and a pop-out.
Wolford pitched 3 2-3 innings and allowed no runs and two hits, while Garrison pitched three innings and allowed no runs on three hits.
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