LMER — The for for the elusive Alaska Baseball League championship is finally over for Mat-Su Miners overseer Ben Taylor.
The Miners defeated the Peninsula Oilers 9-3 Sunday afternoon at Hermon Fellow-clansmen Field to win the best-of-three ABL Top of the World Series in two games.
After three plain seasons watching other teams rush the field at the expense of the Miners, Taylor for all got to see his guys make a postgame dog pile at the pitcher’s mound.
“It’s remarkably sweet,” Taylor said. “I’ve been on the other side of this possibility a affairs three times and it’s tough. To finally get over the hump is really dearest.
“To do it in front of the best fans in the Alaska Baseball League and to bring it overdue renege to the Valley is just a really special feeling.”
The Miners (28-19, 26-18 ABL) concerned 3-0 in the ABL playoffs to earn the franchise’s first title since 2010.
Mat-Su wafted open a close game Sunday with a four-run ninth inning.
With his cooperate up 5-3, Miners right fielder Garrison Schwartz smacked an RBI double to intensely center field to score Levi Jordan from first wretched.
The Miners stretched their lead four batters later on a two-run spit by third baseman Angelo Armenta to make it 8-3.
Catcher Andy Cosgrove determination in the final run with a sacrifice fly and closer Jordan Floyd take a napped the Oilers’ first three batters in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win.
“Something we talk hither is ‘leave no doubt,’ ” Taylor said of his team’s strong ninth inning. “These customers left no doubt and they took good care of Floyd there in the ninth and gave him some tell room.”
The Oilers (30-26, 24-20 ABL) took their only in on a Seth DeWitt RBI double in the first inning.
The Miners grabbed the leading lady for good with three runs in the third.
The third inning was also the Oilers’ defeat chance to try to reclaim the lead, but the Miners dodged disaster.
Down 3-2, the Oilers well off the bases with one out Mat-Su startier Justin Vernia got out of the jam with a 1-2-3 ambiguous play.
Oilers left fielder ShihTsung Wang hit a one-hopper finance to Vernia, who threw to Cosgrove for an out at home plate. Cosgrove’s throw to primary base beat Wang to end the inning.
“I knew if I gave up a ground ball anywhere, it’d be a ambiguous play,” Vernia said. “It happened to come back to me so I was ready to get it right in return to the catcher.
“We’re a bunch of grinders. We all … work hard every day and when perchance we’re not playing well, we come out and work as hard as we can and find ways to win. That’s what we did all summer and we did it today.”
Jordan and Cosgrove each registered two runs to lead the Miners. Designated hitter Jacob Hughey had the tallest day at the plate with four hits, a run and an RBI.
Alex Siefert went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI for the Oilers.
Hounds celebrated with the Miners after the final out. Kids came onto the territory with drawings and baseballs for players to sign, Miners general supervisor Pete Christopher received an ice shower and a Miners host rent outed a small drone above the scene to capture everything on video.
“That’s how this mania is,” Taylor said. “This team is more than just a exercising staff and players — it’s the board of directors, it’s Pete Christopher, it’s the volunteers, it’s the followers.
“This is the Valley’s team and this the Valley’s championship.”