Oilers cruise past Bucs

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2004

When things finally went right for the Peninsula Oilers against the Anchorage Bucs, they went really right.

Heading into Friday night's game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park, the Oilers had lost four of their five contests against the Bucs. Peninsula turned that around in a 7-0 Alaska Baseball League victory.

The Oilers clicked on all cylinders as Michael Martin and Pat Cassa combined on a shutout, the defense turned three double plays and the offense struck for 13 hits.

"It was a great team win," said Rocky Laguna, who had three hits and three RBI. "Those guys have hurt us all year, so to beat them 7-0 was a big plus for our team."

Martin was not dominant. He gave up five hits in seven innings and walked three batters. He also let the leadoff man reach in five of seven innings.

The pitcher was dominant when he had to be, though.

"I'm the kind of pitcher that likes to be in a jam," said Martin, who upped his record to 4-1.

Martin said his curveball was working and induced numerous Bucs hitters to either strike out or ground into double plays.

Oilers head coach Aric Thomas said Martin is a perfect pitcher for the Oilers defense because he works quickly and gets a lot of ground balls.

While the Bucs left nine runners on base and did not execute on offense, Oilers shortstop Chris Minaker said Martin and Cassa played a role in the Bucs' troubles.

"We turned more double plays tonight, and that shows our pitchers are making big pitches in those big spots," said Minaker, who had three hits, three RBI and a run scored.

On offense, the Oilers were able to execute against Bucs starter Dennis LeDuc, who yielded 11 hits and five runs in seven innings.

Felipe Garcia joined Laguna and Minaker by having a big night at the plate. He had three hits and two runs scored.

Garcia starred in the College World Series this year, helping Cal State Fullerton win it all. He started slow for the Oilers, but lately he has been spraying line drives to all fields. His performance Friday raised his average to .288.

"He was swinging aluminum longer than pretty much everybody else, so he had an adjustment to make," Thomas said. "Plus, when he got up here guys knew his reputation and were trying to pitch around him. He was trying to make a big impact. Lately, he's been more patient."

Nick Kliebert added two runs for the Oilers, while Patrick Rooney had a pair of hits.

"We've been hitting the ball well all year," Minaker said. "We just haven't been hitting the ball in the right places.

"In baseball, everything evens out and that's what happened tonight."

Thomas agreed that the batting order is coming together nicely for the Oilers. The coach said that no matter who is leading off the inning, he has confidence the team can score.

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