One of the nice things about baseball is that there's almost always a tomorrow.
The Peninsula Oilers took that to heart Tuesday as they dropped an 11-5 decision to the visiting Mat-Su Miners in an Alaska Baseball League game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
"We've been playing good. We haven't had a game like that in a long time," said Oilers head coach Aric Thomas. "It was bound to happen. Now, we've just got to put it behind us."
Thomas said his squad needs to be focused for tonight's 6 p.m. rematch as the Oilers, now 16-10 in league play and tied for first with the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, are just a game ahead of the 14-10 Miners. The top two teams in the league standings earn a trip to the National Baseball Congress World Series following the season.
"Winning one of the next two games (vs. Mat-Su) will be pivotal to have the tiebreaker at the end of the season," Thomas said. "It's real important for us to come out ready (Wednesday)."
The Oilers struck first in Tuesday's game, plating a run in the bottom of the second inning. Rocky Laguna singled and took second when the Mat-Su left fielder wasn't able to field the ball cleanly. Matt Eichel followed with a single to right field and Laguna scored easily as he was running on the pitch.
The Miners countered with a run in the top of the third Zeke Parraz singled home Billy Munich from second but the Oilers plated a pair of runs in the third to regain their lead.
Felipe Garcia led off the frame by beating out an infield single, and after Nathan Faulkner was hit by a pitch, Chris Minaker put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
Garcia was caught in a rundown trying to score on a ground ball by Andy Dahl, but Laguna followed with a single to right, scoring both Faulkner and Dahl.
After cruising through the first two innings, Oilers starting pitcher Steve Morlock ran into trouble. After scoring a single run in the third, the Miners scored three in the fourth, taking advantage of an Oilers error and getting RBI singles from Munich and Parraz, and a sacrifice fly to score a run by Clayton Carson.
Mat-Su added three in the fifth on two hits, a double by Scott Simon and a two-run single by Josh Satin, aided by two more Oilers errors.
"Early on, (the Miners) did a good job putting the bat on the ball, and getting those hits to fall," Thomas said.
Eric Butkiewicz replaced Morlock with two out in the fifth and promptly got out No. 3, picking off a Mat-Su baserunner.
Butkiewicz kept the Miners off the board through the seventh and was relieved by Brian Chambers in the eighth. The Miners roughed up Chambers, though, scoring a run in the eighth. Mat-Sun put the game away with a three runs in the ninth, getting two of them on a homer over the left-field fence from Satin.
Satin finished with three hits, four runs and four RBIs in four at-bats for the Miners.
The Oilers scored a run in the ninth when Garcia reached on an error and scored on a groundout and two wild pitches.
Garcia went 3-for-5 for the Oilers with a run, Nick Kliebert was 2-for-5, Laguna was 3-for-4 with a run and two batted in, and Eichel was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
The Oilers left 10 runners stranded, though, and Mat-Su pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts.
"We swung the bat well, but strikeouts hurt us," Thomas said. "We had 11 hits, but we left about the same number on base."
Miners ab r h bi Oilers ab r h bi
Parraz 3b 5 0 2 2 Perry cf 3 0 0 1
Bigler cf 3 1 2 0 Kliebert 3b 5 0 2 0
Hester dh 5 2 1 1 Garcia dh 5 1 3 0
Simon 1b 5 1 2 0 Faulkner 1b 4 1 0 0
Errecart rf 5 1 0 0 Minaker ss 4 0 1 0
Satin 2b 4 4 3 4 Dahl lf 5 1 0 0
Munich c 2 2 2 1 Laguna 2b 4 1 3 2
Mason lf 3 0 0 0 Eichel c 4 1 2 1
Carson ss 2 0 0 0 Scobee rf 2 0 0 0
Rodriguez c 1 0 0 0
Totals 35 11 12 10 Totals 36 5 11 4
ip h r er bb so
Malone 3 1-3 7 3 2 1 2
Edell, W 3 2-3 2 0 0 0 7
Andrews 1 1 1 1 0 1
Gilmore 1 0 1 0 0 2
Morlock, L (5-2) 4 2-3 6 7 4 4 4
Butkiewicz 2 1-3 1 0 0 0 2
Chambers 2 4 4 4 1 0
HBP by Malone (Faulkner, Scobee). WP Malone, Gilmore 2. Blk Andrews.
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