After a one-week delay, the Granite City Oilers hosted the Edinburgh Giants this past Sunday for their 2018 season opener. The Giants travelled north for their second game of the season after a tough 8-7 loss to the Edinburgh Diamond Devils. Hopes were high for the squad but injuries, the absence of their starting catcher Matt Cote, and an all-around solid performance from the Oilers, would be too much for the Giants to overcome.
Player-manager Stephen Evans started on the mound for the Oilers against lefty ace Kyle Huffey of the Giants. Last time these two met, it was quite the pitcher’s duel as both hurlers racked up double digits in the strikeout column.
Evans started the game well, allowing only one baserunner on an error. The Oilers, starting several first-time players, would strike first and strike often in the match-up. Lead off batter Miles Peterson singled to centerfield with what would be the first of the Oiler’s 14 hits of the day. Peterson would steal second and third and eventually score when Jared Thomley tried to advance to first on a dropped strike three. Stephen Evans, David Johnson, and Paul Gardner each singled to load the bases for Abraham Izazaga, who eventually drew a five-pitch walk, scoring Evans from third.
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, Evans was back on the mound where he would face four batters, striking out three while walking one as the Giants bats were silenced yet again. In the bottom of the second, the Oilers would score three runs off one hit and three walks making the score 5-0.
The top of the third saw the Giants get their first of four hits in the game when Luis Marino hit a hard ground ball to shortstop that took an unexpected bounce, clearing well above the shortstop’s head. Marino would be stranded at first as Evans would retire the next batter for the third out of the inning. The third and fourth inning saw the Oilers add two additional runs in each, while the Giants managed two more hits but were unfortunately unable to score.
With the score 9-0 entering the fifth inning, the Giants needed to rally if they wanted to stand any chance of winning. Mickey Walton hoped to get something going when he lead off with a single, but that would be were the rally stopped: Evans would retire the next three batters consecutively with a pop-out and two strikeouts respectively. This would be Evans’ last inning for the day. He struck out 10 batters while walking 2 and giving up 4 hits. The Oilers bats then caught fire in the bottom of the fifth, scoring 8 runs in total and making the score 17-0.
Federico Gambedotti, a new member to the club, would take the mound for his pitching debut for the Oilers. He would pitch two innings allowing no hits, a walk and striking out one.
Ross Crawford, Jared Thomley, Paul Gardner, and Miles Peterson would each have multiple hits in the game, with Gardner and Peterson leading the way with 3 each. Kyle Huffey, Alfredo Freites, Luis Marino, and Mickey Walton each got a hit in the game. Stephen Evans would earn the win for the Oilers, while Kyle Huffey was credited with the loss.
Man of the Match:
Oilers – Ross Crawford: 2 for 4 with 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 RBI, 4 stolen bases, and 4 runs scored
Giants – Kyle Huffey: 1 for 1 with 2 walks; 4.0 IP with 6 strikeouts
Granite City Oilers @ Edinburgh Cannons (Double Header) 22 April
Edinburgh Giants @ Glasgow Comets 22 April