Peninsula Oiler first baseman Nathan Faulkner makes a catch for an out in the third inning Thursday against the Mat-Su Miners.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
They may not be smiling in Mudville, but there was plenty of joy Thursday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park: Nick Kliebert played all nine positions, Scoop won his first “Race the Mascot” of the season, and the Peninsula Oilers wrapped up their 2005 season with a 3-0 win over the Mat-Su Miners in Alaska Baseball League play.
“It was a happy-go-lucky mood all night,” Kliebert said following the game. “(My teammates) were enjoying it. They were having fun.”
The win puts the Oilers at 19-16 in league play this season, good for third place in the standings behind the runner-up Miners and the champion Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
Kliebert started the game in right field and worked his way over to left field through the first three innings. He trotted out to shortstop to start the fourth, then went from third to second to first in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Kliebert moved to catcher for the eighth inning, and took the mound in the top of the ninth. He got the first batter he faced to ground out to shortstop, but after surrendering a single, was lifted for closer Adam Reifer.
Kliebert wanted to stay in to finish the game, but Oilers head coach Mike Coutts said he wanted to give him a chance to leave the field in front of the large and supportive crowd that had stuck around to witness the feat.
“I felt a lot better than I thought I would. I felt like a million bucks,” said Kliebert, adding that he had been nursing a sore elbow all summer. “I pleaded with (pitching coach Thad Johnson) a little, but it was a blessing that they let me do it in the first place, and I wasn't going to get greedy.”
Kliebert said the subject of playing all nine defensive positions in a game had been broached on a couple of occasions during the season. He already had played six positions for the Oilers, filling in where needed, and carries several gloves in his bag.
“I hadn't pitched since high school, and I caught an inning as a freshman in college,” said Kliebert, who is heading into his senior year at Pepperdine. “Other than that, I've played all of them in the last two years.”
Kliebert did not have a ball hit his way until the top of the sixth inning, when he fielded a pop fly at second for the third out of the frame. He made three putouts in the seventh at first base, including a nice tag to end the inning after a throw pulled him away from the base.
Kliebert's teammates many of whom also moved from position to position to accommodate Kliebert's moves also made quite a few nice plays in support of starting pitcher Ty Davis, notably Luke Salas, who chased down seven fly balls in left field, and Jake Kahaulelio, who started a double play throwing from his knees at shortstop in the first inning. Jared McGuire also went into the stands from first base to make a play on a foul ball, ending a Miners threat in the fifth.
Coutts said it took a little figuring to get all his players moved around, a task he delegated to assistant coach Wes Davis.
“We were talking about it before the game, and at about 4:30, I told Wes Davis, ‘You've got to figure out how to make it work,'” Coutts said. “Nick deserves it. He's a super kid.”
Overshadowed was a solid performance from Davis, who scattered five hits over seven innings, walked two and stuck out two. Chuck Rider pitched an inning of relief, allowing a hit and striking out a batter, and Reifer earned the save, getting a pop-up and a strikeout to end the game after issuing a walk.
Kahaulelio also had a great day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI doubles. His first hit in the third inning plated David Newby, who had drawn a walk and advanced to second on a single by Salas. Salas scored from first after drawing a walk on Kahaulelio's two-out double in the seventh.
Kliebert said it was a game he'd remember.
“It was a blast. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To have the season end on a note like that is something I'll look back on and enjoy. And it's nice to beat the Miners too they've had our number all season.”
OILERS 3, MINERS 0
Miners ab r h bi Oilers ab r h bi
Bigler cf 4 0 1 0 DNewby cf 3 1 0 0
McCarthy ss 5 0 0 0 Salas lf 3 1 2 0
Taylor rf 3 0 1 0 Kahalelio ss 4 0 2 2
Hester lf 4 0 1 0 Tracy dh 3 0 0 0
McBride c 3 0 1 0 Kliebert rf 3 0 0 0
Bransfield 2b 4 0 0 0 Faulkner 1b 1 0 0 0
Magness 1b 4 0 0 0 Gipson 2b 2 1 0 0
Rizzo 3b 4 0 2 0 McGuire 3b 4 0 0 0
Krauser dh 3 0 1 0 Scutchfield c 1 0 0 0
- - - - - Laguna rf 2 0 0 0
- - - - - Inouye c 1 0 0 0
- - - - - Pellgrine 1b 0 0 0 0
Totals 34 0 7 0 Totals 27 3 4 2
Mat-Su 000 000 000 0
Peninsula 001 100 10x 3
E Magness, Gipson, Taylor. DP Oilers 1. LOB Miners 11, Oilers 7. SB Salas. CS Kliebert, Gipson. 2B Bigler, Kahaulelio 2.
ip h r er bb so
Duke, L 3 2/3 3 2 1 5 0
Smith 2 1/3 0 0 0 1 1
Campbell 2 1 1 1 1 3
Davis, W 7 5 0 0 2 2
Rider 1 1 0 0 0 1
Kliebert 1/3 1 0 0 0 0
Reifer, S 2/3 0 0 0 1 1
WP Duke. PB McBride, Inouye. HBP by Smith (Tracy), by Davis (Taylor).
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