Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN
Victoria, BC (ISN) – For the first time in their three-year history the Victoria Eagles will be heading to the BC Premier Baseball League playoffs, and after sweeping the Whalley Chiefs 5-1 and 7-2 Sunday at Lambrick Park, they are doing so on a high note.
The Eagles actually clinched a playoff position by virtue of their 4-3 win over the North Shore Twins on Saturday, which combined with the 9th place North Delta Jays pair of losses in Parksville, clinched at least an 8th place finish for the Eagles.
Whalley second baseman Tyler Ang turns a double play early in Game 1 Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
However the Eagles have their eyes on a 7th place finish – which would mean they could stay on the Island and meet 2nd place Nanaimo in the first round of the playoffs – and as such, the Eagles wanted to win Sunday to put more distance between themselves and the 8th place Twins.
Whalley pitcher Yuta Kikuzaki would keep the Eagles at bay until a 3rd inning home run by Brad Van Wyk (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Eagles went with ace Brendan Miller on the mound for game one and that turned out to be a sound decision, as Miller threw a complete game six-hitter to get the 5-1 win.
Eagles starter Brendan Miller would scatter six hits in the complete game win Saturday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
While the Chiefs were able to threaten in each of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, Miller was able to pitch his way out of trouble, allowing just a single run on a sacrifice fly in the 4th. Only one Chief hitter seemed to figure out Miller and that was Garret Hasner, who accounted for 3 of the Chiefs 6 hits in the game.
A sacrifice fly by Tyler Eng would produce the only Whalley run in Game 1 Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Whalley first baseman Garrett Hasner would be the only offensive bright spot for the Chiefs in Game one, going 3 for 3 at the plate (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Meanwhile the Eagles offence stepped up to score some runs for Miller, with Brad Van Wyk getting things going with a solo home run off of Chief starter Yuta Kikuzaki to lead off the 3rd inning.
The Eagles Brad Van Wyk would homer to lead off the 3rd inning and get the Eagles on the board (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
They would follow that with 2 more runs in the 4th, as Gobind Sall would walk and then score on a Sam Stevenson triple. Stevenson would then score on a sacrifice fly from RJ Forbes and the Eagles led 3-1.
Eagle second baseman Mitch Hawkins puts the tag on Whalley’s Breadan Allemann after a rundown (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The bottom of the 6th saw the Eagles add some insurance, as with one out, Brandon Feldman would walk and Gobind Sall would single. They would then both score, Feldman courtesy of an RBI single by Forbes, and Sall during the course of a delayed steal and subsequent rundown involving Forbes that allowed Sall to cross the plate before the out was made.
With the 5-1 lead, Miller then retired the side in the top of the 7th to close out the Game 1 win.
In Game 2 the Eagles went with BC U17 Select Kurt Horne on the mound, while Whalley countered with Brendan Lim.
The Eagles would go with BC U17 Select Kurt Horne in game two and he would emerge a 7-2 winner (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Eagles would strike first in the bottom of the first inning, as Jesse Thomson would walk, Mitch Hawkins would double and Thomson would score on a Brandon Feldman sacrifice fly to centre.
Whalley’s Brendan Lim would limit the Eagles to 7 hits, but come up on the short end of a 7-2 loss (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
They would then up their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third, as Sam Stevenson would make the Chiefs pay for three errors, lashing a 2-RBI single to score Will Wild and Mitch Hawkins.
Meanwhile, despite struggling a bit with his control over the first three innings, the Eagle’s Horne kept the Chiefs off the scoreboard, even helping himself at one point with a nice pick off move to catch the Chief’s Matthew Yee stealing.
Whalley’s Matthew Yee was a dead duck as Eagle shortstop Jesse Thomson gets set to tag him out after getting caught stealing in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Chiefs did get to Horne in the top of the 4th however, as centre fielder Jordan McCoomb, who would end up with three hits on the day, launched a lead-off triple and then came in to score on a ground out.
Whalley’s Jordan McCoomb watches his 4th inning triple head to the wall. McCoomb would finish with three hits in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Eagles would get that right back in the bottom of the inning as Alex Hendra-Brown would reach on a lead-off single and then come home to score on a double by the hot-hitting Brad Van Wyk making the score 4-1.
After a scoreless 5th inning, Whalley would score again as Braeden Allemann would walk, McCoomb would single again and after a couple of outs, Roberto Bevaqua would single home Allemann to pull the Chiefs to within two at 4-2.
The Eagles RJ Forbes slides safely into second ahead of the throw to Whalley second baseman Tyler Ang (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
That would be as close as the Chiefs would get, as the Eagles would put the game away in the bottom of the inning. RJ Forbes would lead-off the inning with a bunt single and after a pair of outs will Wild would draw a walk. Both would then score on a clutch 2-RBI double by Jesse Thomson.
Jesse Thomsons 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 6th would put the game away for the Eagles (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Thomson would then come in to score when Mitch Hawkins reached on an error and the Eagles took the 7-2 lead into the bottom of the inning.
That would be all Horne would need, and despite allowing a 2-out single for the 8th hit off him in the game, he would strike out two of the final Chief batters to finish the complete game victory.
Eagle manager Gautam Srivistava was happy with the results today and over the year. “We set a goal to make the playoffs this year” said Srivistava, “so it was nice to see this team meet that goal, especially after a disappointing season last year.”
The Eagles RJ Forbes would have a 2 RBI single in Game 1 and go 2 for 3 in Game 2 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
With the two wins, the Eagles finish the year with a record of 22-26. They will now await the completion of the BCPBL schedule to see if that will be good enough to hang on to the 7th place seed, as the North Shore Twins still have four games to play and will have to win them all to knock the Eagles out of that spot.
The Twins, who despite losing both of their games today to the Victoria Mariners, clinched their playoff position by virtue of North Delta’s two losses today to the Nanaimo Pirates that officially eliminated the Jays from contention.