Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN
Victoria, BC (ISN) – Tied with each other for 7th place in the BC Premier Baseball League, and battling for the 8th and final playoff spot, the Victoria Eagles hosted the North Shore Twins Saturday in a crucial double-header at Lambrick Park.
Heading into the day, the Eagles 19-25 record and the Twins 17-23 record put them both in a tie for the 7th/8th spot in the league, both 3 games ahead of the 9th place North Delta Blue Jays, who were also in action against the last place Parksville Royals.
In addition to trying to guarantee themselves a playoff spot, both teams were keen to win and take the seventh spot, so as to avoid playing league leading Langley in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles Thomas Koop would get the Game 1 start, but would not fare well, giving up 5 runs in the first three innings against the Twins (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Under those scenarios and a tense playoff like atmosphere, it was the Twins who got the jump early in Game 1 of the set, jumping all over Eagle starter Thomas Koop for 5 runs in the first three innings and then coasting to an eventual 6-0 win.
The Twins Luis Boyd would make a number of fine defensive plays, and go 2 for 3 at the plate to lead the Twins in Game 1 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Doing the damage early for the Twins was shortstop Louis Boyd who would single and score in the first on an RBI-double by Lachlan Fontaine and knock a 2-RBI double in the third and then later score.
The Twins Louis Boyd slides home past Eagle catcher Gobind Sall with one of the 3 runs he would score in the Twins 6-0 win (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Eagle’s would counter with reliever Mac Catto in the 4th inning, and while he would effectively shut the Twins down the rest of the way, his counterpart on the mound, Twin starter Jordan Kellof, was spinning a 2-hit, complete game beauty, silencing the Eagle hitters and striking out 6 along the way.
The Twins Jordan Kellof would throw a complete game 2-hitter at the Eagles to get the Game 1 win (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Kellof’s only blemishes on the day were a second inning double by the Eagles Brandon Feldman, a walk to Alex Hendra-Brown in that same inning, a fifth inning double by RJ Forbes, and a hit batter in the sixth, who he quickly erased on a wicked pick-off move to first base.
The Eagles Mackenzie Catto would limit the Twins to just a single hit over the final 4 innings, but the Eagles would lose the game 6-0 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In Game 2 of the set, the Eagles would start Brett Hull on the mound and it appeared that the Twins would continue with the hot hand, as Robbey Panico would single and Boyd would walk and both come in to score to give the Twins an early 2-0 lead.
North Shore’s Robbey Panico would have 2 of the Twin’s 3 hits off the Eagles Brett Hull in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Eagles would answer off Twin starter Kyle Olver in the bottom of the inning though, as Feldman and Gobind Sall would single and then later score thanks in part to a 2-out error by Twin second baseman Emerson Dohm.
The Eagle’s Brett Hull would spin a 3-hit gem in Game 2 Saturday to help the Eagles to a 3-2 win (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
After the shaky first inning, the Eagle’s Hull then buckled down and silenced the Twin bats, shutting them down over the next five innings with just one hit and getting some help from his middle infield, notably a 3rd inning double play by Jesse Thomson, to get out of trouble.
The Eagles defence would play well in Game 2, including this 3rd inning double play by Jesse Thomson (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Meanwhile the Eagle offence came alive to give Hull some additional run support in the 4th inning, as both Forbes and Kurt Horne scorched RBI doubles to push the Eagles lead to 4-2.
Kurt Horne’s 4th inning double would knock home the eventual winning run in Game 2 Saturday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
That lead would carry into the top of the seventh and with Hull still on the mound, the Twins would rally as with one out, Clark Grisbrook would reach on an Eagle throwing error and Riley MacDonald would single, moving Grisbrook to third.
The Twin’s Louis Boyd would be safe on this play as the ball gets away from the Eagles Jesse Thomson (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
A sacrifice fly from George Upton would score Grisbrook, but that would be as far as the Twins would get, as Panico then flew out to end the game and give the Eagles the 4-3 win.
Both pitchers were the story of the game, each throwing a complete game, with the Twin’s Olver giving up 2 earned runs on just 4 hits, while striking out 6.
The Twin’s Kyle Olver would throw a complete game 4-hitter but end up on the wrong side of a 4-3 loss in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
For the Eagles, Hull gave up just 1 earned run on 3 hits, while striking out 5.
The split for the Eagles give them a 20-26 record and while they are still tied with the Twins (now 18-24), of more importance is the fact that the Parksville Royals did both the Eagles and Twins a favour by defeating the North Delta Blue Jays (now 17-29) in both their games today.
The Eagles Mitch Hawkins turns the front end of a potential double play in Game 2 Saturday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
For the Eagles, that means that even if the Jays win their 2 remaining games, they can not catch the Eagles and thus the Eagles have clinched a playoff berth.
The picture is less clear for the Twins, who now must at least win one of their six remaining games to assure at least a tie with the Jays for 8th place, or hope the Jays lose their final two games Sunday.
The Eagles Gobind Sall would have a solid game at third and score 2 of the Eagles 4 runs in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Twins will face the 4th place Victoria Mariners Sunday so that task will be a tough one, at least for another day, although the Blue Jays will have to sweep the Nanaimo Pirates in their Sunday double-header to have a chance.
The Eagles meanwhile close the season by hosting the 10th place Whalley Chiefs Sunday in a double-header at Lambrick Park. Game times are 12 noon and 3 pm.