Oilers headed to NBC

When Fire, Miners decline, Oilers jump in

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Peninsula Oilers failed to take advantage of a second chance in Saturday's 8-6, 12-inning loss to the Mat-Su Miners at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai. It remains to be seen whether the Oilers will take advantage of a second chance when it comes to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.

On Friday, the Oilers accepted an invitation to play at the NBC World Series, according the Shawn Maltby, the general manager.

Normally, a team must finish in the top two of the Alaska Baseball League to earn an NBC berth. Now at 15-17, the Oilers are long past their chance to finish ahead of the Miners, at 22-11, and the league-leading AIA Fire, who were at 22-8 heading into a late Saturday night game against the Anchorage Bucs.

Maltby said both the Fire and the Miners declined invitations to Wichita. When the Oilers got a chance to go, the organization jumped at it.

"We have a rich tradition at that tournament," Maltby said. "We're happy to go."

The Oilers won NBC titles in 1977, 1993 and 1994. Only five organizations have won more NBC titles than the Oilers, a list headed up by the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks' six. The Oilers are tied with three other organizations with three NBC titles. The team with the second-most NBC titles is the Anchorage Glacier Pilots with five.

"For us, it's all about the kids," Maltby said. "Developing these baseball players — that's what we're all about as an organization. This tournament is a great opportunity for these kids to be seen by scouts. They also have a chance to play in front of 10,000 fans.

"The universities give us the opportunity to have these players. The least we can do is give the players this opportunity."

Maltby said a couple of players on the Oilers received pro contracts after the NBC last year. He said Alaska teams are very popular in Wichita and also very respected. Even though the Oilers did not finish in the top two of the league, they still have the 13th seed in the tournament.

The Oilers are looking to do better with their NBC second chance than they did with a second chance against the Miners on Saturday. Mat-Su entered the ninth cruising with a 6-0 lead. The Miners put reliever Webster Beal into the game and the Oilers jumped all over him.

Nick Buss began the inning with a single, then Toby Davis reached on an error. After Adam Younger and Joe Patterson struck out, Robert Lundy walked to load the bases. Steve Goins was hit by a pitch to bring in Buss, Jeremiah Mejia singled to bring in Davis, Michael Dabbs had an infield single to bring in Lundy and Ryan Wilkes walked to bring in Goins.

The Miners then lifted Beal in favor of Max Peterson. With the bases loaded, Peterson worked the count full on Buss, then gave up a single. Mejia and Dabbs scored and Wilkes was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin in an attempt to win the game.

"The pitcher was in the windup and the runners were going so Wilkes was rounding second already when (Buss) got the hit," said Oilers manager and third-base coach Daniel Boyle. "It was like he was trying to score from second on a base hit.

"Maybe I should have held him, but I figured I'd take a shot at winning the game. If the throw was off line, we would have won the game."

The Oilers were already on a staff day due to the sore arm of Andre Lamontagne, who could not start on Saturday. The job of holding the Miners down in extra innings fell to closer Paul Smyth, who had pitched 1 1/3 innings on Friday. In the 11th, the Miners got a runner on second with one out but Smyth worked out of that jam. In the 12th, the Miners loaded the bases with one out. Derek Helenihi hit a sharp grounder to first that just eluded the glove of Wilkes. Two runs scored on the play.

"He did a good job," Boyle said of Smyth. "He got the ground balls he needed. It just didn't work out for him.

"He was out there competing. That's one thing about him — he's always going to be competing as hard as he can."

The Oilers had a chance to win the game in the 11th when Lundy reached second base with one out against Peterson. Mejia flew out and Dabbs struck out.

In the 12th, Wilkes started the inning with a walk and Buss followed with a single. Davis tried to sacrifice the pair to second and third, but Wilkes was thrown out at third on a bang-bang play. Peterson ended the game by striking out Younger and Patterson.

Friday, the Oilers notched a 5-4 victory over the Miners. Wilkes scored three runs in the game, each time after reaching base on a walk. Smyth slammed the door shut on the Miners. He was summoned in the eighth with runners on first and second and two out and got out of the inning with one pitch — a fly ball by Joey August. He then struck out the side in the ninth.

The Oilers face AIA today at Seymour Park at 2 p.m.

Saturday

Miners 8, Oilers 6, 12 inn.

Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Uhl cf 5 1 2 0 Dabbs cf 5 1 1 1

McMurray 2b 4 1 2 2 Wilkes 1b 2 0 0 1

August lf 6 0 1 0 Buss rf 5 1 3 2

Conan 1b 5 1 0 0 Davis 3b 6 1 1 0

McConnell dh 6 2 4 3 Younger ss 6 0 0 0

Ercolano rf 6 0 1 0 Patterson c 6 0 0 0

Price 3b 3 1 0 0 Lundy lf 4 1 2 0

Briceland ph 0 0 0 0 Goins 2b 3 1 0 1

Brown pr 0 0 0 0 Mejia rf 5 1 3 1

Ewing 3b 1 1 1 0 ---- -- -- -- --

Ortiz c 5 0 1 0 ---- -- -- -- --

Helenihi ss 6 1 2 2 ---- -- -- -- --

Totals 47 8 14 7 Totals 42 6 10 6

Mat-Su 000 012 201 002 —8

Peninsula 000 000 006 000 —6

E — Price, Davis, Mejia, Younger. DP — Miners 1, Oilers 2. LOB — Miners 12, Oilers 9. HR — McConnell. SB — Ercolano, Ewing, Buss. CS — Wilkes, Lundy. S — McMurray 2, Goins.

IP H R ER BB SO

Miners

Brown 7 3 0 0 3 3

Garcia 1 2 0 0 0 3

Beal 2-3 3 6 0 2 2

Peterson, W 3 1-3 3 0 0 0 5

Oilers

Haug 5 5 1 1 2 6

Epperheimer 1 3 4 3 2 1

Wade 2 1 0 0 0 1

Isaacs 1 1 1 0 1 0

Smyth, L 3 4 2 2 2 1

Epperheimer pitched to three batters in the seventh.

HBP — by Beal (Goins). WP — Beal, Haug, Epperheimer.

Friday

Oilers 5, Miners 4

Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Uhl cf 4 0 0 0 Dabbs rf 3 1 1 0

Price 3b 4 0 2 0 Wilkes 1b 1 3 0 0

August lf 5 0 0 0 Buss cf 3 0 1 1

Conan 1b 4 0 2 0 Davis 3b 4 0 1 1

Ewing rf 5 1 1 0 Younger ss 2 0 1 1

McMurray c 1 1 0 0 Mejia dh 4 0 0 0

McConnell dh 3 2 0 0 Lundy lf 4 1 1 0

Terhune 2b 3 0 2 1 Patterson c 3 0 2 0

Ortiz pr 1 0 0 0 Martinz 2b 4 0 0 0

Helenihi ss 3 0 0 1 ---- -- -- -- --

Totals 33 4 7 2 Totals 28 5 7 3

Mat-Su 000 301 000 —4

Oilers 201 001 100 —5

E — Martinez, Terhune, McMurray. DP — Miners 4. LOB — Oilers 7, Miners 11. 2B — Dabbs, Lundy. SB — Buss, Wilkes, McConnell, Ewing, Ortiz. CS — Buss. S — McMurray. SF — Helenihi.

IP H R ER BB SO

Miners

Matteo 5 6 3 2 3 5

Kalush, L 2 1 2 0 2 1

Peterson 1 0 0 0 0 1

Oilers

Hollands 5 3 4 4 3 4

Garcia, W 2 3 0 0 1 0

Wade 2-3 1 0 0 1 1

Smyth, S 1 1-3 0 0 0 0 3

HBP — by Hollands (McConnell), by Matteo (Younger), by Garcia (McMurray), by Kalush (Younger), by Peterson (Patterson). WP — Hollands 2, Matteo. PB — Ortiz. BK — Hollands.

Thursday

Miners 8, Oilers 2

Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Uhl cf 5 2 1 0 Dabbs rf 4 0 0 0

Price 3b 3 0 0 0 Wilkes 1b 4 0 2 1

August lf 3 1 2 2 Buss cf 3 0 0 0

Ewing rf 4 1 0 0 Davis 3b 5 1 1 0

Conan 1b 5 1 1 1 Younger ss 4 0 1 0

McMurray c 4 0 3 2 Mejia lf 3 0 0 1

McConnell dh 4 1 2 0 Lundy dh 3 0 0 0

Helenihi, ss 4 0 0 0 Patterson c 3 0 2 0

Terhune 2b 4 2 2 0 Martinez 2b 4 1 0 0

Briceland, ph 1 0 0 0 ---- -- -- -- --

Totals 37 8 11 5 Totals 33 2 6 2

Mat-Su 520 000 010 —8

Peninsula 000 000 011 —2

E — Helenihi, Terhune, Davis, Younger, Martinez. DP — Miners 1, Oilers 0. LOB — Miners 6, Oilers 8. SB — August. CS — Ewing. S — Price (2), Mejia.

IP H R ER BB SO

Miners

Eskew, W 6 4 0 0 1 5

Carlson 1 1 0 0 3 0

Pirigi 1 0 1 0 0 0

Cullen 1 1 1 1 2 0

Oilers

Thomson, L (4-3) 1 1/3 7 7 7 1 1

Dunn 3 2-3 3 0 0 0 1

Smyth 1 0 0 0 0 3

Haug 1 0 0 0 1 1

Garcia 1 1 1 0 0 1

Epperheimer 1 0 0 0 1 0

WP — Cullen, Thomson.



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