Peninsula Oilers head coach Gary Adcock was hoping for a little more Monday night against the Mat-Su Miners.
The Oilers, the best hitting team in the Alaska Baseball League, went up against the Miners and the ace of their pitching staff, Josh Scott, mentioned by many as the league's top pitcher this season.
"It's a game I wish we would have played better," Adcock said of the 5-1 loss at Coral Seymour Memorial Park. "He might be the best pitcher in the league, but we're the best hitting team. We didn't get the big hit when we needed it."
While Scott certainly pitched well enough to earn the win, giving up one run on six hits in eight innings and striking out five while walking two, Adcock thought that the Oilers could have made it a closer match.
"It was a frustrating game," Adcock said. "They didn't hit the ball any better than we did -- they just took advantage of our miscues. Tyler (Johnson, the Oilers' starter) matched him pitch for pitch."
The Miners plated a run on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning, but the Oilers matched that in the bottom of the fourth when Jeremy Reed hit a triple, his sixth of the season, and scored on a single by Hunter Brown.
An Oilers throwing error, an infield single and a hit batsman loaded up the bases for the Miners in the top of the sixth though, setting up a fielder's choice by Casey Grzecka that scored two runs.
Grzecka's hard-hit grounder was fielded by Brown, who flipped to Garcia at second. One run scored on the play, and as Garcia was transferring the ball from his glove to his throwing hand to try to turn the double play, the ball slipped away, allowing a second run to cross the plate.
"It was going to be a close play at second," Garcia said. "I just rushed it a little. I don't think we would have gotten the play at first, but if I keep it in my glove, the guy at third doesn't score."
Adcock argued the call, saying that the runner had slid past second and interfered with Garcia's chance to pick up the ball.
"The slide at second is an opinion call. That's the way it's written in the rule book," Adcock said. "His opinion was different than mine. When it comes down to it, he's the one with the authority. That was his opinion, I've got to live with it."
The Miners again loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, this time on two Oilers errors and a base on balls, and when Adcock came out to argue balls and strikes, he was immediately ejected from the game.
"They did their job," Adcock said of the officiating crew. "I just had a differing opinion.
"The calls didn't lose us the game. We lose the game because we didn't take care of the ball."
David Humen entered the game in relief with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth, but he walked the first batter he faced to plate a run.
Oilers third baseman Tim McCabe made a sharp play at third on the next batter, throwing home for a force out, but Humen walked in another run before he could get a strikeout to end the inning.
Johnson was charged with five runs, two of them earned, on four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
With the Oilers struggling in the field, Scott cruised through his eight innings.
"He was good," admitted Garcia. "He threw four pitches and he threw them all for strikes."
The victory keeps the Miners in the hunt for second place in the ABL and a trip to Wichita, Kan., for the National Baseball Congress World Series. Mat-Su must win one of its two remaining games with the Oilers to force a one-game playoff with the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
The Oilers already have the ABL title and a trip to the NBC tournament in the bag, but Adcock would like to see them playing better baseball before they hit the road.
The Oilers have two more home games, today and Wednesday against the Miners. Game time for both games is 6 p.m.
MINERS 5, OILERS 1
Miners ab r h bi Oilers ab r h bi
Parker rf 2 1 0 1 Garcia 2b 4 0 1 0
Randel 2b 4 1 1 0 Reed rf 4 1 2 0
Walker lf 3 1 0 0 Brown ss 4 0 1 1
Grzecka dh 3 0 0 0 Simmons 1b 3 0 0 0
Griffin 3b 4 0 0 0 McCabe 3b 4 0 0 0
Ison ss 4 0 0 1 Shelley lf 4 0 0 0
Williams 1b 3 1 2 0 Anderson c 3 0 2 0
Harper c 4 0 1 0 Kaye dh 3 0 0 0
Rutkowski cf 4 1 1 0 Coleman cf 2 0 0 0
Tousa 2b 2 0 0 0 --- - - - -
Totals 33 5 5 2 Totals 31 1 6 1
Mat-Su 001 002 020 -- 5
Peninsula 000 100 000 -- 1
E -- Brown, Simmons, Johnson. DP -- Miners 1, Oilers 1. LOB -- Miners 6, Oilers 5. SB -- Williams, Harper, Rutkowski. 2B -- Garcia. 3B -- Reed. S -- Simmons, Randel. SF -- Parker.
IP H R ER BB SO
Scott, W 8 6 1 1 2 5
Garcia 1 0 0 0 0 1
Johnson, L (3-1) 7 1-3 4 5 2 2 3
Humen 1 2-3 1 0 0 2 2
WP -- Scott. Balk -- Scott. HBP -- by Johnson (Walker).
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