Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

Victoria, BC (ISN) – A four-run top of the ninth propelled the Victoria Mariners to a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Eagles in BC Premier League pre-season baseball action Sunday at Lambrick Park.

In a game where pitching was the dominating factor in eight-and-a-half innings of the Victoria Eagles and Victoria Mariners nine inning pre-season game Sunday, it was ironically a sudden lack of pitching in the top of the ninth for the Eagles that led to four Mariner runs and a 5-2 win for the visitors on a sunny and mild afternoon at Lambrick Park.

As is typical of an early season game, both teams utilized a bevy of pitchers in the game, with 13 in total making appearances, seven for the Eagles and six for the Mariners. And as is often the case in early season games, as the batters work on their timing, the pitchers held the upper hand in the game, with both teams only able to produce single runs through the first eight innings of play.

Starting things off were the Eagle’s Brendan Miller and the Mariner’s Colton Wood – new to the Mariners from the Bantam AAA Eagles Provincial Championship team last season – both of whom sailed through two scoreless innings of work.

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The Eagles would send seven pitchers in total to the mound Sunday including the first six shown here (clockwise from top left) Brendan Miller, Brett Hull, Mackenzie Catto, Kurt Horne, Daniel Bednarski and Riley Edmonds (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

They were followed respectively by the Eagle’s Brett Hull and the Mariner’s Riley Rebitt, who both got into trouble early in their innings but were able to pitch their way out of trouble to keep the game scoreless.

Next up for the Mariner’s was Erik Phillips who pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, and for the Eagle’s 6’7″ Mackenzie Catto, who pitched a scoreless fifth, but gave up a single run to the Mariner’s in the top of the sixth without surrendering a hit, when the Mariner’s Daryl Blaskovich reached base on an error and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch.

The Eagles would answer however in the bottom of the inning when the Mariner’s sent a shaky Nick Gardler to the mound. Gardler, who had trouble finding the strike zone, would eventually walk the bases full with one out before giving way to Nathan McKinlay. McKinlay would surrender an RBI ground-out to Alex Hendra Brown and then induce a soft line-drive out to first to get out of the inning without further damage.

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The Mariners would also use six pitchers in total Sunday including (clockwise from top left) Colton Wood, Riley Rebit, Erik Phillips, Nick Gardler, Nathan McKinlay and Kaelin Norris-Jones (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).

In the seventh, the Eagles sent lefty Kurtis Horne to the mound and he had another effective early season outing, posting a three up, three down inning. McKinlay did the same for the Mariners in the bottom of the frame.

In the eighth, the Eagles sent Daniel Bednarski to the mound and he showed no ill effects of off-season jaw surgery, using his 6’4″ frame to full effect in retiring the three batters he faced. McKinlay once again did the same for the Mariners and the teams went to the ninth tied at 1-1.

The Eagles sent Riley Edmonds to the mound in the ninth and after an error by second baseman Brandon Feldman allowed the leadoff Mariner runner on base, Edmonds struck out Matt Bryan and got Brendan Somers to pop out for a quick two outs.

After that, the pitching gods deserted Edmonds and he began to struggle with his control, hitting the next three batters, and thus putting the Mariners up 2-1. After another two walks cashed in two more runs, Edmonds was replaced on the hill by Feldman, who walked the first batter he faced, giving the Mariners their fourth run of the inning, all without a ball being hit out of the infield.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles mustered a small rally against the Mariners sixth pitcher of the day, Kaelin Norris-Jones, scoring a run on a 2-out, RBI single by Gobind Sall, but that would be it, as the Mariners would emerge with the 5-2 win.