The Peninsula Oilers will continue their quest for a fourth National Baseball Congress World Series crown today when they face off with the Hays (Kan.) Larks at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan.
The game will start at 2 p.m. ADT and can be heard on 920 AM.
Since winning what is commonly considered the nation's top amateur baseball tournament in 1993 and 1994, Peninsula has seen a number of close-but-not-quite finishes.
The Oilers have finished at least fifth each year since 1995, including a second-place finish last year.
While the Oilers pitchers have been so-so in posting a 4.62 ERA thus far in the tournament, Peninsula batters have carried the team to a 4-1 record and into the round of the top six teams.
Leading the Oilers to their .368 batting average thus far in the tournament has been Danny Garcia.
Garcia is hitting .565 in the tournament with 10 runs scored, 13 RBIs and an eye-popping slugging percentage of 1.087. The Pepperdine University player also is one home run away from tying for the Oilers all-time lead.
"He plays the game with a passion," Oilers manager Gary Adcock said Tuesday by phone from Wichita. "He has a passion for the game of baseball.
"He loves being the go-to guy. When the game's on the line, he wants to be up there."
Garcia came through with flying colors in the Oilers two most crucial at-bats of the season. In the Oilers 18-9, 10 inning comeback win over Prairie Gravel (Ill.), Garcia hit a two run home run in the seventh to keep Peninsula from losing due to the run rule, then tripled home the tying runs in the ninth inning.
"When he slid into third base, he popped up and told me, 'That was for you,'" Adcock said. "That's the type of kid he is."
Garcia is not the only Oilers player ripping the cover off the ball at the NBC. Luke Simmons is hitting a softball-like .545 with the Oilers with five runs and seven RBIs.
The performance has to be all the more special to Simmons considering the background of his father, Don. In an e-mail to the Clarion, Don wrote that he grew up in Wichita and was raised on the NBC since he was 7 years old.
"I dreamt of playing there when I grew up, but I couldn't hit a lick," Don wrote, adding that Simmons has many cousins and family friends watching him play in Wichita.
Others contributing to the Oilers torrid hitting are Jeremy Reed at .474 for the tournament, Randall Shelley at .462 and Jeff Jones at .312.
In their past two games, the Oilers scored 29 runs as teams had to delve into their Nos. 3 and 4 starters.
At this point in the tournament, teams should be ready to come back with their top starter. Adcock said he will roll Soldotna's Chris Mabeus out to the mound for today's game.
Mabeus is no stranger to big-game pitching, having pitched for the Lewis-Clark State College this past season.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior logged the most victories and second-most innings on a Warriors team that won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship in early June.
Mabeus is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA thus far in the NBC and 5-2 with a 1.64 ERA this year for the Oilers.
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