The Peninsula Oilers stayed alive in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan., with victories on Friday and Saturday.
The Oilers beat the San Diego Force 3-1 on Friday before topping the League City (Texas) Hornets 4-3 on Saturday. The Oilers have now won three straight games at the double-elimination tournament after losing the opener on Wednesday.
Ryan Woolley will get the start for the Oilers today against the Sedalia (Mo.) Bombers, who lost Saturday to the St. Joe (Mo.) Mustangs. The game will be at 7:30 a.m. Alaska time and can be heard on 1140 AM.
The Oilers had a 3-0 lead in Saturday's game before Jorge Marban gave up a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning.
Peninsula came back to take the lead and win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, James Lilley had a walk-off single to score Michael Miller.
Miller started the rally with a bunt single, then walks to Sean Madigan and Ryan Gebhart loaded the bases.
"At this point, our backs are against the wall so any way we have to get the job done we have to get it done," said Oilers head coach Dennis Machado via cell phone from Wichita. "Obviously, we don't want to give up a three-run lead late in the game with our bullpen, but we found a way to pull it out."
Machado said the team recovered quickly after losing the lead so late in the game.
"When they tied it up, we went right back to work," Machado said.
The Oilers once again got a solid start, this time from Geoff Broussard, who pitched five scoreless innings.
"It all starts from the mound," Machado said. "It doesn't matter how many runs we score, we have to have starting pitching."
The Oilers jumped on top 3-0 in the first inning when Pablo Bermudez drove in Tyler Grimes and Ryan Gebhart and Miller knocked in Lilley.
Mike Wolford pitched an inning of scoreless relief and Sergio Marquez had 2-3 of an inning of scoreless relief before Marban entered.
Chad Smith pitched a scoreless ninth to get the win.
Machado said the dramatic win could spark his team's offense.
"We're not as far away as it may appear," Machado said. "We've been hitting the ball well, we just haven't pushed a lot of runs across yet. We're right on the verge of breaking some things open."
Machado also said the team's Alaska Baseball League experience helps. The pressure to win every day despite a hectic schedule is nothing new for the Oilers, who had to win constantly to keep up with the Mat-Su Miners and Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
"The Alaska league is a grind, and the losers' bracket is a grind," Machado said.
In Friday's game, four Oilers pitchers combined to hold the Force to one run and five hits.
Eddie Orozco picked up the win, pitching the first 5 1-3 innings and giving up three hits and no runs. Orozco struck out four and walked two.
After Orozco walked David Whiteside with one out in the sixth, Machado summoned Matt Applegate, who immediately got out of the inning with a double play. Applegate pitched 1 2-3 innings and give up no runs and no hits while striking out one.
Erik Draxton entered for Applegate in the eighth, giving up a home run to Travis Taijeron that cut the lead to 3-1. In the ninth, Smith entered and the Force got the tying run to the plate with two outs, but Smith retired Julio Torres to earn the save.
The Oilers grabbed the lead in the game in the second inning with a two-out rally. Madigan was hit by a pitch with two outs, then Grimes, who finished 2-for-4, singled to put Madigan on second.
With Ryan Gebhart at the plate, Madigan and Grimes pulled off a double steal, then Madigan scored when Force starter and loser Morgan Wynne uncorked a wild pitch.
The Oilers expanded the lead in the sixth. With one out, Bermudez doubled to right field. Nathan Theunissen then singled to put Bermudez on third. Michael Miller then scored Bermudez with a sacrifice fly.
In the seventh inning, the Oilers tacked on their last run when Lilley blasted a home run.
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