Idle Pilots close in on ABL title

The Anchorage Glacier Pilots were idle Tuesday night, but they still kept targeting the Alaska Baseball League championship.

The second-place Peninsula Oilers split a doubleheader on the road with the Fairbanks Goldpanners on Tuesday -- the Oilers rebounded for a 5-1 seven-inning win in the nightcap after falling 6-4 in the seven-inning opener -- and the third-place Anchorage Bucs posted a 7-6 win over the Mat-Su Miners.

Even so, the league-leading Glacier Pilots' magic number over both the Oilers and Bucs is just two. That means any combination of Glacier Pilots wins, or losses by their two pursuers, that equals two will earn the Glacier Pilots (23-11 ABL) the pennant.

Plus, the Glacier Pilots have six games remaining in the 40-game regular season on the six-team circuit -- three of those games are against the fifth-place Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks and two are against the last-place Miners.

The Glacier Pilots, who Wednesday entertain the Chinooks at Mulcahy Stadium, have won six straight ABL games and seven straight overall. They are 15-4 in their last 19 league games.

The Bucs (18-16) used left-handed reliever Bryant Holtmann's sharpest performance of the summer and a four-run fifth inning Tuesday to bounce back from a three-run deficit and beat the Miners at Mulcahy.

Holtmann pitched 31/3 innings of two-hit, scoreless relief to set up right-hander Austin Williams, who retired the side in order to earn his second save.

Bucs right fielder Zach Esquerra blasted a two-run home run in the second inning for his eighth bomb of the season and delivered a run-scoring single in the fifth. Chase Compton, who like Esquerra went 3 for 4, furnished a run-scoring triple in the first.

Branden Berry notched his first homer for the Miners.

In Fairbanks, Oilers starter Michael Coates allowed just two hits and one run in five innings of the nightcap.

Trey Richardson rocked his fifth homer for Peninsula (19-16), Frank Martinez added an RBI single and Alex Staehely's two-run single in the top of the seventh added an insurance cushion.

Matt Nadloski drove in two runs for Fairbanks in its opening win, as did Brady Renner. Nadolski launched his eighth homer of the season in the nightcap.

Standings W L Pct GB Anch. Pilots 23 11 .667 -- Peninsula 19 16 .543 41/2 Anch. Bucs 18 16 .529 5 Fairbanks 15 17 .469 7 Chugiak 13 20 .394 91/2 Mat-Su 13 21 .382 10 Monday's Results Chugiak 2, Bucs 1 Bucs 5, Chugiak 1 Fairbanks 15, Peninsula 3 Pilots 8, Mat-Su 7 Tuesday's Results Fairbanks 6, Peninsula 4 Peninsula 5, Fairbanks 1 Bucs 7, Mat-Su 6 Wednesday's Games Peninsula at Fairbanks, 6 p.m. Bucs at Mat-Su, 6 p.m. Chugiak at Pilots, 6 p.m.

Anchorage Daily News