PALMER — Fueled by a local product’s strong start on the mound and a pair of bombs, the Mat-Su Miners scored a 2-1 win over the Peninsula Oilers Thursday evening at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
Former Wasilla High School standout James Arand earned his first career Alaska Baseball League victory. Arend allowed only two hits over five innings of work.
“That’s awesome. Local kid gets to go out and start. He competed in the zone all night and gave us five solid,” Mat-Su head coach Tyler LeBrun said after the win.
Arend fanned four and walked three. LeBrun said Arend’s mix of fastballs and change ups was working.
“If you can throw a change up in this league, you can dominate,” LeBrun said.
Thursday marked Arend’s first career start with the Miners and second appearance. In eight innings pitched, Arend has fanned seven, scattered four hits and has not allowed a run.
“He’ll keep getting chances as long as he keeps throwing it in the zone,” LeBrun said.
Arend, a first-team all-conference selection as a senior with the Wasilla Warriors, is now playing college baseball for Corban University in Oregon. He also played at Dawson Community College in Oregon.
Arend and three relievers combined to allow only four hits and one earned run. LeBrun said it’s now back-to-back games that the bullpen has come through for the Miners. Four relievers combined to allow only three hits and a earned run over 6 ⅓ during an 8-7 extra-innings win over the Anchorage Bucs on Tuesday.
Evan Wolf, Nate Beimel and Evan Floyd combined to allow two hits and strike out four over four innings. Floyd, who pitched for the Miners in 2019, earned his first save of the summer.
Two big blasts represented the Mat-Su offense Thursday. Casey Rother gave the Miners the early lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. Nick Cirelli supplied the insurance run with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh.
“Two big home runs. We’ll take those all day,” LeBrun said.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.