Mariners Clinch Home Field Advantage for Playoffs

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Story and Photographs by Glenn Ivens (www.javalon.smugmug.com)

The Victoria Mariners went into this weekend with the goal of securing home field advantage for the BCPBL playoffs. After coming away with 8-2 and 5-1 wins on Saturday against the visiting Whalley Chiefs they needed to win one of two against the North Shore Twins on Sunday to reach that goal.

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Daryl Blaskovich got the start for the Mariners in Game 1 of a double header with the North Shore Twins on Sunday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

The Mariners got things started early in game 1 when Jesse Hodges smacked a 1 run triple then scored off a Chris Fougner single to stake a 2-0 lead after the 1st inning.

The Twins would cut the lead in half in the top of the 3rd when George Upton scored off a Louis Boyd double. The M’s answered right back when Ty Russell’s double brought in Daryl Blaskovich and a sacrifice fly from Hodges scored Matt Bryan to put them up 4-1 after 3 innings.

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Louis Boyd makes the tag on Daryl Blaskovich during BCPBL action at Layritz Park. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

North Shore mounted a 2 out rally in the 4th, tieing the game 4-4 when George Upton hit a single that scored two.

The score remained knotted at 4 until the bottom of 7th inning, when Matt Bryan drove a single that advanced Erik Phillips from 1st to 3rd. The Twins decided that it would be better to walk Hodges then pitch to him but a rare catchers balk was called when the catcher moved prior to the pitch, resulting in the winning run crossing the plate.

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Matt Bryan drives a single that moved Erik Phillips into scoring position in game 1 of double header with North Shore Twins. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

Phillips came into relieve Hodges and close the final 3 innings.

The win secured at least a 4th place finish and home field advantage in the playoffs for the Mariners.

“It is tough to win on the road, especially in the playoffs so home field advantage is something we’ve been playing for all season” remarked Mariners Manager Mike Chewpoy.

The M’s still had something to play for in game 2 a win would move them into 3rd place and give them their 32 win of the season, a new record for the Lower Vancouver Island Baseball Association franchise.

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Ty Russell keeps an eye on the base runners during Sunday’s BCPBL double header against the North Shore Twins. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

Hodges got the call to the hill for the Mariners in game 2 with the Twins countering with Adam Aichmair.

North Shore opened the scoring in the 2nd with Robbey Panico crossing the plate, than built on that lead in the 3rd when Hodges struggled on the mound and the defense committed 2 errors, which lead to a 4-1 lead.

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Morgan Varley of the Victoria Mariners gives his all to get the throw to first and get the out in an 8-4 win over the North Shore Twins on Sunday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

The M’s were able to get one back in the bottom of the 3rd when Blaskovich took advantage of a wild pitch to cross the plate and made the comeback complete in the 4th inning with a 2 run single by Bryan.

They would move ahead in the 5th with a sacrifice fly by Brendan Somers that scored Fougner and added 3 more in the 6th giving them an 8-4 victory.

Hodges settled down and prevented the Twins offence from scoring in the final 4 innings to earn the win.

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Jesse Hodges makes the throw to first during BCPBL action on Sunday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

“I thought I might be done in the 3rd but Randy just told me to keep battling,” remarked Hodges in reference to a visit to the mound by pitching coach Randy Holt.

Sunday’s game marked the final BCPBL regular season games for numerous Mariners. Team captain Blaskovich was happy it ended on a positive, “It was nice to finish the season with 4 wins, and gives us confidence going into the playoffs.”

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The Mariners outfielders, Brendan Somers (L), Matt Bryan (back) and Nathan Donaldson (R) celebrate with a shoulder bump after winning all 4 of their games this weekend and securing home field advantage for the playoffs. (photo by Glenn Ivens)

With the team having played 11 games in the last 9 days they will get a much deserved day off on Monday before getting back to preparations for their first round match up with the Coquitlam Reds. The teams split their season series with 2 wins each.

 

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