The Oilers have signed University of Hawaii teammates Brian Finegan and Nick Ponomarenko for the 2003 season. Both are juniors and have transferred from Cuesta College.
The pair played for San Luis Obispo during the summer of 2002 as the Blues made it to the National Baseball Congress Worlds Series in Wichita, Kan. The Blues were eliminated in the semifinal round by the Anchorage Glacier Pilots after having lost in an earlier round to the eventual tournament champion Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
At Hawaii, the duo will be united with 2001-02 Oilers head coach Brian Green.
Finegan is an infielder and was named to the California JUCO all-star team in 2002. At San Luis Obispo, the shortstop led the summer wood bat league team in games played, at-bats, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and runs scored while finishing second with a batting average of .301. Finegan is from Clovis, Calif., and is studying business administration.
Ponomarenko comes to the Oilers as a two-way player. Ponomarenko was drafted in the 38th round as a pitcher by the Montreal Expos in the 2002 draft. With San Luis Obispo, the first baseman hit .287 in 101 plate appearances while posting a 4-1 win-loss record on the mound with an earned run average of 2.92 in nine games, seven of them starts. Ponomarenko also is from Clovis and is studying general management.
Former Oilers assistant coach Bob Miller (1994) has been named the new head coach at Cuesta College. More recently, Miller was the head coach for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots from 2002 through 2002, leading the Alaska Baseball League team to the NBC World Series title in 2001 and a runner-up finish in the tournament in 2002. Miller spent six seasons as an assistant to Oral Roberts University head coach Sonny Golloway (Oilers 1993-94) before moving to Riverside Community College for the 2002 season.
Pitcher Cal Eldred (Oilers 1988) has signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 11-year major league veteran will be attempting a comeback after missing the entire 2002 season with injuries.
For more information regarding the Alaska Baseball League and the Peninsula Oilers, visit the team's Web site at www.oilersbaseball.com of stop by the team's office on the corner of Cook Avenue and Main Street in Kenai.
Oilers Corner is submitted weekly during the offseason by Mike Baxter, baseball operations manager for the Peninsula Oilers Alaska Baseball League team.
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