The Peninsula Oilers completed their home schedule by defeating the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 3-0 on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Alaska Baseball League play.
The game started about 30 minutes late due to a rain delay, but Oilers starter Jake Sabol and the rest of the team quickly got down to the business of putting the finishing touches on an 18-4 league mark at home this year.
The Oilers finish July 9-0 at home. The Oilers have now won seven in a row and 13 of their last 14 to move to 28-12 in the league.
The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks remained in first place in the league on Sunday night by defeating the Anchorage Bucs. The Panners are 27-10, while the Oilers are a half game back. The Miners picked up two wins over Athletes in Action on Sunday and are 26-12, 1 1-2 games behind the Panners.
The Oilers will conclude their ABL season by playing Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Mat-Su Miners. Peninsula is now 7-0 against the Pilots this year.
Sabol went seven innings and gave up three hits while walking two and striking out five. He threw 96 pitches, 72 for strikes. He said his arm had been a little tired of late, but that getting nine days off had his arm feeling lively again.
Oilers head coach Dennis Machado said Sabol was back to attacking the strike zone and taking control of at-bats.
"When he does that, you can blink and he's already in the sixth inning," Machado said.
The Pilots only had three hits in the game and put just three runners in scoring position.
"He throws three pitches for strikes and he had us off-balance a little bit," Pilots head coach Yogi Cox said.
Anchorage's best chance came in the seventh inning with the Oilers ahead 3-0, when Trevor Hairgrove, who finished 2-for-4, and Trent Garrison collected back-to-back singles. After Sabol struck out Clay Cederquist, O'Koyea Dickson walked to load the bases and Machado went to talk to Sabol.
"He wanted to know if had enough in me for one more batter," Sabol said. "I'm a guy that's not going to ask to come out in that situation."
After falling behind 2-0 to Cullen Mahoney, Sabol got a ground ball to end the inning.
"That's been the story of our summer," said Cox after his squad fell to 10-32 in the ABL. "We haven't come up with the big hit. We've got some young kids and I'm proud they're still battling."
Josh Corrales and Chad Smith then teamed up to set the last six Anchorage batters down in order, with Smith earning the save.
Sabol said having a bullpen led by those two, along with Jorge Marban, is a luxury.
"They come in and close the door behind us," he said. "They can throw in the low to mid-90s. In a wood-bat league, there's not going to be too many hits off of them."
The Oilers managed to squeeze their three runs out of five hits. Pilots starter Paul Montalbano gave up those three runs in five innings in taking the loss.
In the second, the Oilers loaded the bases with no outs as Ryan Hege singled, Garrett Wittels walked and Patrick Wisdom singled. Jeff Popick was then hit by a pitch to force in a run, then Michael Miller grounded out to score another run.
In the third, Tyler Grimes, the only Oilers player with two hits, started the inning with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Piscotty.
The win capped a triumphant return tour of Seymour Park by Machado, who played at the ballpark in high school with the American Legion Twins then spent four summers playing for the Oilers. He also had been the pitching coach for the Oilers for two seasons.
"It all starts with the players," Machado said. "They've showed up all year ready to play. The assistant coaches have also done a phenomenal job of keeping the machine rolling."
Oilers 3, Glacier Pilots 0
Pilots AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Mtlnd cf 3 0 0 0 Grimes ss 3 1 2 0
Lndckr ss 4 0 0 0 Gbhrt cf 4 0 0 0
Hrgrve rf 4 0 2 0 Psctty lf 3 0 0 1
Grrisn c 4 0 1 0 Hege c 4 1 1 0
Cdrqst 1b 3 0 0 0 Wittls 3b 3 1 1 0
Dcksn lf 2 0 0 0 Wisdm 1b 3 0 1 0
Mhny 2b 3 0 0 0 Popick dh 1 0 0 1
Mnship dh 3 0 0 0 Thnnisn ph 1 0 0 0
Ortiz 3b 3 0 0 0 Millr 2b 2 0 0 1
---- -- -- -- -- Charles ph 1 0 0 0
---- -- -- -- -- Madign rf 3 0 0 0
Totals 29 0 3 0 Totals 28 3 5 3
Anchorage 000 000 000 --0
Peninsula 021 000 00X --3
E -- Maitland, Starratt. DP -- Pilots 1, Oilers 1. LOB -- Pilots 4, Oilers 6. 2B -- Hairgrove, Grimes. SF -- Piscotty. SB -- Grimes.
IP H R ER BB SO
Montalbano, L 5 4 3 3 1 1
Starratt 3 1 0 0 0 1
Sabol, W 7 3 0 0 2 5
Corrales 1 0 0 0 0 2
Smith, S 1 0 0 0 0 0
WP -- Sabol. HBP -- by Montalbano (Popick).
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