by Jonathan Hodgson
March 12, 2014 (ISN) – Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (VIBI) recently returned from the Gentry Ford Classic in Ontario, Oregon, where they were propelled to a win over Southwest Oregon CC by the bat of Steve McKinnon.
The annual Gentry Ford Classic hosted by Treasure Valley Community College, saw VIBI tested against three Oregon-based teams including the host Treasure Valley, Chemeketa CC, and Southwest Oregon CC in a demanding 6-game schedule over just 2 days.
The first game of the weekend saw VIBI engage in a competitive matchup with Chemeketa CC out of Salem, Oregon. A strong start by VIBI had them in front by a count of 4-2 after 5 innings.
McKinnon (Fresh., Duncan, BC) singled in Gobind Sall (Fresh., Duncan, BC) to open the scoring in the first. After Chemeketa pulled ahead in the bottom of the first, Jeremy Harasymchuk (Sr., Edmonton, AB) drove in Connor Merilees (Jr., North Vancouver, BC) to tie it at 2 in the fourth, before McKinnon and Cody Pendergast (Sr., Calgary, AB) scored in the fifth, to give VIBI a 4-2 lead.
Right-handed starter Connor Russell (Sr., Victoria, BC) was strong for the second straight week, throwing 8.1 innings with 8 strikeouts. Chemeketa managed just 2 hits off of Russell from the second inning through the seventh. Unfortunately for Russell and VIBI, Chemeketa came back with 2 runs in the eighth inning, and another in the ninth to take a 5-4 win.
Riley Moskaluk (Fresh., St. Albert, AB) was 2 for 4 in the game.
Saturday was a marathon day at the ballpark for VIBI, with 4 games beginning at 10 AM. The second game of the day against Southwest Oregon CC was a thriller, with VIBI coming out on top.
Down 4-1 after 5 innings, McKinnon went at it again, launching a homerun to right-center to lead off the sixth. That swing ignited VIBI, who went on to score 3 times to tie it at 4. Southwest Oregon reclaimed the lead at 6-4, but VIBI punched right back, with another 3-run frame, this one in the eighth, to take a 7-6 lead, which would hold up for the win.
McKinnon, a member of the 2010 Canadian Junior National Team, was 3 for 4 in the win with the homerun and 2 walks. On the weekend, he hit .471 with 8 hits, 3 doubles, a homerun, and 7 RBI’s.
Connor Merilees had a pair of 2-hit games with 4 RBI’s on the weekend.
Gentry Ford Classic scores:
- 5-4 L vs. Chemeketa CC
- 10-0 L vs. Treasure Valley CC
- 12-6 L vs. Chemeketa CC
- 7-6 W vs. Southwest Oregon CC
- 10-1 L vs. Treasure Valley CC
- 6-5 L vs. Soutwest Oregon CC
VIBI now hosts a pre-season doubleheader against CCBC opponent Okanagan College. First pitch at Serauxmen Stadium is at 12:00 pm on Thursday.
The team is back on the road this coming weekend as they return to Edmonds CC for a doubleheader as well as a doubleheader at Everett CC. VIBI beat Edmonds 4-0 on March 1st, as part of a 2-1 Opening Weekend.