There wasn't much to appreciate during fan appreciation night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park Wednesday, as the Peninsula Oilers closed the 2000 regular season with a 6-0 loss to the Mat-Su Miners.
"It was one of the worst performances of the year," said manager Gary Adcock after an unusually long post-game conference with his team in right field. "We didn't even put up a fight."
With the win, the Miners tie the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks for second place in the Alaska Baseball League standings. A one-game playoff during the Wood Bat Invitational will determine which squad will receive the seoond league berth to the National Baseball Congress World Series.
Frank Esposito started for the Oilers, and while the first three Miners popped out, a slew of miscues in the second inning opened the Mat-Su floodgate for four runs.
Casey Grzecka doubled to open the second and was advanced to third on a Jeremy Ison sacrifice bunt. He then scored on a single by Brad Harper. Harper then went to second, and then third, on wild pitches. He then scored on a Scott Tousa single. Rashad Parker advanced on balls and then took second on a passed ball which also sent Tousa to third. They both scored on a David Griffin single.
Two wild pitches by Esposito in the fourth inning accounted for the fifth Miners' run. After Matt Strickroth sent a chopper past third for a single, he advanced to second on a Tousa sacrifice bunt. He moved to third on one wild pitch, and crossed the plate on the next.
The Miners scored one more in the sixth after right-hander Brian Tarajack took the mound for the home team. Strickroth singled on a bad hop past third baseman Randall Shelley and scored on what appeared to be a routine fly to deep left. However Oilers left fielder Luke Simmons broke in on the hit and wound up chasing the ball deep into the left field corner, allowing Strickroth to score from first.
Adcock said he had to wait as long as he did to pull Esposito, as he only had three pitchers available to him.
"I was just trying to set up our pitching for the Bucs tournament," Adcock said. "And the guys pitching tonight were mostly relievers."
Tarajack was also nursing a sore hamstring, Adcock said. After the game he told the West Virginia junior he was sending him home to heal.
"I don't want you to risk your senior year," Adcock told Tarajack.
Stephen Copeland started the seventh for the Oilers and sent the Miners side down in order in each of the last three innings.
Meanwhile, the Miners' Luke Steidlmayer pitched through the seventh, racking up five strikeouts and not allowing an Oilers runner past second. Kyle Bunn pitched a no-hit eighth. James Garcia gave up one double to Luke Simmons and a walk to Randall Shelley in the ninth. He struck out Joe Hietpas to end the Oilers' regular season.
"Although it ended on a sour note, on a whole, every other team in the league would trade places with us," Adcock said. "And as much as we didn't play our absolute best, if you take a step back and look at our accomplishments, the season was outstanding."
The Oilers wrapped up the season with a 30-12 record, the best in the Alaska Baseball League.
Attention now turns to the Wood Bat Invitational which begins today at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage. The Oiler's first game is at 5 p.m. against the host Anchorage Bucs.
Wednesday, July 26
MINERS 6, OILERS 0
Mat-Su 040 101 000 -- 6 9 0
Peninsula 000 000 000 -- 0 4 0
Steidlmayer, Bunn (8), Garcia (9) and Harper; Esposito, Tarajack (6), Copeland (7) and Anderson. W -- Steidlmayer. L -- Esposito. 2B -- Mat-Su: Grzecka, Tousa; Peninsula: Simmons. LOB -- Mat-Su 4, Peninsula 9.
Wood Bat Invitational
at Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage
Bay Area All-Stars vs. Glacier Pilots, 11:30 a.m.
Bay Area All-Stars vs. Miners, 2:15 p.m.
Bucs vs. Oilers, 5 p.m.*
Bucs vs. Goldpanners, 7:45 p.m.
Oilers vs. Glacier Pilots, 11:30 a.m.*
Goldpanners vs. Bay Area All-Stars, 2:15 p.m.
Goldpanners vs. Miners, 5 p.m.
Bucs vs. Glacier Pilots, 7:45 p.m.
Oilers vs. Miners, 11:30 a.m.*
Bay Area All-Stars vs. Oilers, 2:15 p.m.*
Goldpanners vs. Glacier Pilots, 5 p.m.
Bucs vs. Miners, 7:45 p.m.
Goldpanners vs. Oilers, 4 p.m.*
Miners vs. Glacier Pilots, 6:30 p.m.
Bucs vs. Bay Area All-Stars, 9 p.m.
Tournament No. 2 vs. Tournament No. 3, 5 p.m.
Tournament No. 1 vs. Semifinal winner, 8 p.m.
* -- All Peninsula Oilers games will be broadcast on 920 AM.
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