Langley Uses Pitching and Defence to Advance to Senior Men’s Baseball Championship Game

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

August 4, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Langley Blaze defeated the Kamloops Sun Devils 4-0 Sunday evening to advance to the Championship Game of the 2013 BC Senior Men’s Provincials on Monday morning at 11:30 am.

The Blaze will play the winner of a semi-final page playoff game between Kamloops and the Burnaby Bulldogs that will take place at 9:00 am on Monday.

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Langley pitcher Shawn Schaefer would get the complete game 4-0 win over Kamloops on Sunday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Bulldogs overcame their loss to Kamloops earlier on Sunday to defeat Trail 8-0 on Sunday evening to advance to the page semi-final. Mitch Hodge would get the win for the Bulldogs, going six innings and giving up just four hits to the Orioles.

The Blaze started left-hander Shawn Schaefer on the hill and he would get the complete game victory, limiting the Sun Devils to just three hits for the game, while striking out six.

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Langley right-fielder Bobby Wagner calls off second baseman Clayton Howell as he makes a nice catch against Kamloops (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Schaefer had a lot of help on the night from his defence, notably right fielder Bobby Wagner, who made a diving catch in the top of the third inning that denied the Sun Devils a pair of runs, and then added another later in the game for good measure.

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This diving catch with 2 outs by Langley right fielder Bobby Wagner prevented two Sun Devil Runs from scoring in the top of the third inning on Sunday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Sun Devils also had a few defensive gems of their own to keep the powerful Langley hitters at bay, notably a great snag and throw of a ground ball up the middle by second baseman Pat Brown to get an out at first.

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Kamloops second baseman Pat Brown would have a fielding gem of his own as he caught up with ths ground ball and made the play to first against Langley on Sunday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Kamloops starter Alex Reid was cruising himself through the first three innings, but then got into trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he was greeted with a leadoff homerun from Langley’s Greg Merritt.

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Sun Devil starter Alex Reid pitched well but fell victim to a home run and a few wild pitches that would contribute to the 4-0 loss to Langley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After hitting the next batter, Scott Webster, and giving up a single to Aaron Horanski, Reid would strike out Wagner, but then surrender an RBI single to Clayton Howell that gave the Blaze the 2-0 lead.

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Clayton Howell would have an RBI single for the Blaze to give them a 2-0 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Merritt would get things going for the Blaze again in the bottom of the 6th inning when he would bunt for a base hit and then advance to second on a throwing error on the play.

After an infield single to Webster and a walk to Horanski, Merritt came in to score on a wild pitch, as did Horanski a bit later and the Blaze had their 4-0 lead.

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The Blaze’s Aaron Horanski motors in to third base during the game against Kamloops on Sunday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Schaefer would shut the Sun Devils down in the top of the seventh to finish the game and put the Blaze into the final with an unblemished 4-0 record.

Should the Blaze win the 11:30 am game tomorrow morning, they will be Champions. If they lose (their first loss of the tournament), they would have to play a second game at 2:30 to have a second chance at the title.

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Kamloops shortstop Adam Halland made a fine play on this ground ball Sunday against Langley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

That of course means that either Burnaby or Kamloops will need to win three games in a row on Monday to wrest the title from the Blaze. A tall order against the very strong looking Langley squad.

Note: In the other final round robin game of the day, the Nanaimo Coal Miners thumped the host Victoria Mavericks 1 by a score of 13-4. The 0-3 Mavericks had jumped into a 4-3 lead after a 2-run homerun from Kevin Pockett, but Nanaimo then cranked up the bats in the final three innings to pull away with the win.

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