Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Eagles hosted the Nanaimo Pirates Sunday in a Canada Day BC Premier Baseball League double-header at Lambrick Park, with the Eagles winning game one 9-3 and the Pirates taking game two 11-8.

In game one, the Eagles Kurt Horne and the Pirates Luke Skingle took to the mound and both were effective, allowing just a run each through four innings, with the Pirates getting to Horne with an RBI single by Justin Clarkson and the Eagles scoring on a solo home run by Sam Stevenson, both in the second inning.

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Nanaimo’s Luke Skingle (left) and Victoria’s Kurt Horne (right) would square off in game one, with Horne coming away with the upper hand, despite leaving in the 5th inning with an injury (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

In the top of the fifth inning, Horne, who struggled with his control all game, issued his fifth and sixth walks of the game with one out, but then induced a ground out and a line out to get out the inning. The latter out was a bullet off the bat of Nanaimo’s Ben Dunbar right back to Horne, hitting him squarely in the lower chest. Horne was able to trap the ball in his glove for the out, but then collapsed in pain and came out of the game.

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Victoria’s Vinny Martin completes the double play over a sliding Griffen Andreychuk (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

Rallying to Horne’s defence, or in this case offence, after his injury, the Eagle bats finally came alive in the bottom of the fifth, as they would explode for four runs, three of which came courtesy of a three-run, bases loaded double off the bat of Brandon Feldman, giving the Eagles a 5-1 lead.

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Brandon Feldman’s bases clearing double would be the key hit in the Eagle’s 4 run fifth inning (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

After the Pirates would score a run in the top of the sixth off of Victoria reliever Riley Edmonds to make the score 5-2, the Eagles would once again respond with four runs in the bottom of the inning, thanks in part to a bases loaded RBI single by RJ Forbes – his fourth hit of the game – and a two-RBI single by Vinny Martin.

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The Eagles’ RJ Forbes would go 4 for 4 in game one, but be ejected early in game two Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

The Eagles took that 9-2 lead into the last inning and despite an RBI single by Brendan McCarthy – his second hit of the game – Edmonds was able to close out the 9-3 win.

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Nanaimo’s Brendan McCarthy would have a solid day, going 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI in game one and  2 for 5 with a run and 3 RBIs in game two (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

In game two, the Eagles’ Brett Hull would get the start along with the Pirates Bryan Odgers. Both would pitch a scoreless first inning, but then things took an interesting turn in the second as the Pirates would score the first two runs of the game without hitting the ball out of the infield.

After Ben Dunbar led things off with an infield single, Chris Faber was awarded first on a catcher’s obstruction call. Ryan Smith would then hit a ground ball deep in the hole at short where Eagle shortstop Vinny Martin would make a great diving play to snag the ball, but would have no chance at a throw and the bases were loaded.

After Dunbar scored on a wild pitch, Crosby Rushton would hit a ground ball to the infield and instead of taking the out at first, the Eagles fielder threw to the plate to try and get Faber out at home. Faber reversed direction and chaos ensued, as first Faber, between third and home and then Smith, between second and third, both got into rundowns with the Eagles defence.

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Victoria starter Brett Hull would have a short outing Sunday as he would be ejected, along with third baseman RJ Forbes, in the second inning of game two (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

At one point it appeared both players were on third base at the same time and a tag applied, but then Smith left to head back to second and Faber came home to score.

Once the chaos had settled, base ump Chet Masse ruled that Smith, the second runner, was out, but not Faber and the Nanaimo run stood.

Eagles’ pitcher Hull and third baseman RJ Forbes, who both felt the tag was applied to Faber and that he should have been out, argued the call a bit too much and both were ejected from the game by Masse before Eagle’s coach Gautam Srivistava could intervene.

When the dust had settled, the Eagle’s Thomas Koop came in to relieve the ejected Hull, catcher Gobind Sall moved to third base, left fielder Sam Stevenson came in to catch and Will Wild came off the bench to play left field.

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Nanaimo second baseman Nathan Odgers turns a double play in game two action Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

Once the game resumed, Nanaimo would score two more runs before the inning was out, courtesy of a two-RBI single by Brendan McCarthy and the Pirates held a 4-0 lead.

They would extend that lead in the top of the fourth as Nathan Odgers and Justin Clarkson would lead off with back-to-back walks and then score on a single by Dunbar. Faber would add another RBI single to score Brady Rogers – who reached earlier on an error – and the Pirates were up 7-0 and looked to have the game well in hand.

The Eagles would not go down easily however, and after they scored a run in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Gobind Sall that scored Wild, they would add three more in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to consecutive RBI singles by Alex Hendra-Brown, Stevenson and Brad Van Wyk, to pull within three at 7-4.

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Nanaimo’s Ryan Smith (left) and Ben Dunbar were two of five Pirates with 2 hits in game two Sunday (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

The potent Nanaimo offence would go back to work in the top of the seventh, scoring another four runs off the Eagle’s Brendan Miller – who had held the Pirates scoreless in the fifth and sixth – to jump into an 11-4 lead. In the inning, Nathan Odgers, Clarkson – with a beautiful bunt single – McCarthy and Smith would all contribute their second hits of the game to pace the offence.

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Nanaimo’s Justin Clarkson would beat out this bunt for his second hit of the game in game two Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

With Nanaimo’s Bryan Odgers still on the hill, the Eagle’s would mount a late rally as Jesse Thomson was hit by a pitch and Wild stroked his second hit of the game to start the inning. Both then came in to score on back-to-back hits by Vinny Martin and Brandon Feldman. Martin would then score on a sacrifice fly by Sall and the Eagles trailed 11-7.

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The Eagles Will Wild (left) and Brad Van Wyk would pace the Eagles with 2 hits each in game two (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

A ground out would move Feldman to third and he would score on a wild pitch to make it 11-8. That would be the end of the rally though as Odgers struck Stevenson out to end the game.

The split leaves the Pirates with a 27-8 record which puts them in second place in the BCPBL just two games behind Langley. The Eagles move to 17-22 and sit in eighth place.

See Christian J. Stewart’s full gallery of images from these games HERE.