Story and Photos By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
( http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com ) 

The Victoria Eagles Premier baseball team defeated the Sherwood Park Athletics 11-6 in pre-season exhibition baseball at Lambrick Park on Wednesday evening.

Victoria (ISN) – If the height of your pitching staff was the only criteria for winning a BC Premier Baseball League championship, then the powers that be should be handing the banner to the Victoria Eagles today.

On Wednesday night in their exhibition game with the visiting Sherwood Park, Alberta Athletics, the Eagles trotted out six different pitchers, five of which topped 6’0 or greater on the height charts. This included Brendan Miller, Brett Hull and Kurt Horne, all who are listed at 6’4″, the towering Mackenzie Catto, listed at 6’7″ and Brandon Feldman, listed at 6’0″.

IMG 8110
Brendan Miller started for the Eagles Wednesday and cruised through his two innings of work (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

Riley Edmonds, listed at 5’11” was the only pitcher used Wednesday who did not top the 6’0″ mark, but no doubt he will reach that mark before the season is out. In addition, also on the Eagle’s roster but not used Wednesday are 6’4″ Daniel Bednarski, 6’6″ Vinnie Martin and 6’4″ Thomas Koop, who are all anticipated to see their fair share of innings on the mound this year.

IMG 8151
Austin Penner started for visiting Sherwood Park and was effective in holding the Eagles to just three runs through his first four innings of work (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

On Wednesday, the sextet of pitchers the Eagles used had little trouble with the Athletics bats, surrendering 5 runs, three of which came in the top of the last two innings when the game was well decided. Of note, the Eagle’s Brendan Miller cruised through his two innings of work, retiring the first six Athletic batters of the game.

Rookie left-hander Kurt Horne, a member of last year’s Bantam AAA Provincial winning Eagle’s squad, also looked strong and seems to be finding no difficulty adjusting to the longer pitching distance in midget aged ball early in the season.

IMG 8376
6’4″ Premier Eagle rookie Kurt Horne looked impressive in his two innings of work (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

On the offensive side of things, the Eagles have a number of promising bats in their line-up this year including the power of Jackson Allabarton, who launched a seventh inning grand slam over the left-field fence, and that of Brandon Feldman who followed later in that inning with an RBI double to cap a six-run inning that effectively clinched the game for the Eagles.

IMG 8584
Jackson Allabarton watches his 7th inning grand slam sail over the left field fence (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

In addition to Horne, the Eagles also have a couple of rookies to keep an eye on this season. Catcher Sam Stevenson, who had an RBI double early in Wednesday’s game, and Alex Hendra-Brown, fleet-footed centre-fielder, join the Premier squad straight from the Bantam AAA Eagles and will likely see significant playing time this year.

IMG 8308
Sam Stevenson had an RBI double in the third inning of Wednesday’s game against Sherwood Park (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

Defensively, if Wednesday night is any indication, the Eagles should be a solid squad with Martin, Mitch Hawkins, Jesse Thompson and Allabarton all playing key infield roles. RJ Forbes and Feldman will also likely see time in the infield during the course of the season along with catcher Gobind Sall sharing time with Stevenson behind the plate.

IMG 8417
Eagle second baseman Mitch Hawkins swipes the tag on to the head of Sherwood Park’s Ryan Thrasher during Wednesday’s action (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

The Sherwood Park Athletics are completing a spring break trip that saw the team come to the Island and play the Nanaimo Pirates, the Victoria Mariners and the Lambrick Park Baseball Academy prior to the Wednesday night match-up with the Eagles.

The Eagles will continue exhibition play this weekend when they host the crosstown Victoria Mariners at Lambrick Park on Sunday. The Eagles PBL League home opener goes Saturday April 7 at 12 Noon when they host the Parksville Royals at Lambrick Park.

IMG 8410
Sherwood Park’s Tony Olson slides safely into second well before the throw to Eagle second baseman Mitch Hawkins (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

Watch for a more in depth preview of the 2012 Victoria Eagles on ISN next week!