Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – Veteran pitcher Trevor Strandlund threw a complete game 8-hitter, while Jeff Vicker’s 2 RBIs and Charlie Strandlund’s sacrifice fly provided the necessary offence, as the Athletics defeated the Braves 3-1 Monday night at Lambrick Park to advance to the finals of the Mavericks Senior Men’s League against the Dodgers.

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Veteran hurler Trevor Strandlund would get the complete game 3-1 win over the Braves Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

This game began with all signs of a classic pitcher’s duel as the A’s Strandlund and the Braves John Fletcher appeared to be unhittable, both cruising through the first two innings without incident.

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Braves pitcher John Fletcher would have the evil-eye going most of the night, holding the A’s to a single run through the first 5 innings (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

In the bottom of the third, the A’s would finally break through and after a walk to Matt Kittleson and a bloop single by Charlie Strandlund, Jeff Vickers would single home the first run of the game and give the A’s a 1-0 lead.

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Jeff Vickers’ third inning single would give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Vickers’ would later add another RBI single in the 6th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

An infield single by Jarod Birch would then load the bases and with David Jollymore at the plate, it appeared the A’s scored a second run as Charlie Strandlund attempted a steal of home plate, appearing to make it, but being called out by the home plate umpire to end the inning.

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The A’s Charlie Strandlund (right) tosses his helmet in frustration after being called out at the plate in the 3rd inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After the A’s threatened again with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning, only to come up empty, the Braves found a way to tie it up in the top of the fifth as Jon Taylor would reach on an infield single, Mike DeGirolamo would be hit by a pitch and Nick Urf would punch a 2-out RBI single to right to score Taylor and tie things up at 1-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, the A’s would load the bases again for the third inning in a row, only to come up empty again, as Fletcher would find a way to pitch out of trouble once again.

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Brave second baseman Alex Sessa appears to have this potential double play toss all lined up, but he would miss the ball, allowing the A’s runner to advance to third (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Braves went down in order in the top of the sixth, and that would be motivation enough for the A’s to put the game away, as they used some classic “small ball” to score a pair of runs.

Mike Strandlund started things off with a base hit, and after a bunt single by Matt Phillips, a text-book sacrifice bunt by Matt Kittleson moved the runners up a base. Charlie Strandlund then launched a sacrifice fly to centre to score Strandlund and then Vicker’s second RBI single of the game scored Phillips to put the A’s up 3-1.

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Textbook bunts by the A’s Matt Phillips (left) and Matt Kittleson (right) would set the stage for the A’s game winning 2-run 6th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Braves would begin a rally in the top of the seventh as Grant Dobson would lead off with a single. However Jorgan Tennant would then ground into a controversial double play, as he felt the ball was fouled off his foot and then rolled into the infield and thus did not run to first, being easily doubled up on the play.

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The Braves Grant Dobson does what he can to try and prevent A’s shortstop Charlie Strandlund from turning a double play late in Monday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

That call may have made a difference, as Taylor would notch his second hit of the game, a double (which would have scored Dobson), then DeGirolamo was hit by a pitch, however Strandlund then induced Urff into a game ending fly out to centre to end the game.

The Athletics now move on to face the Dodgers in the Rithet Cup finals which begin Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Lambrick. Game 2 goes Wednesday and Game 3 if needed will be Thursday.