Mariners and Eagles Tune-Up in Pre-Season Baseball Action

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

April 2, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Mariners and Victoria Eagles renewed their cross-town BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) rivalry on Tuesday evening as they entertained a good crowd in pre-season baseball action at Lambrick Park.

In homage to the absolutely glorious weather that the Victoria region experienced Tuesday, with temperatures up around the 20 degree Celsius mark, both teams agreed early on that they would play as many innings as they could while the weather, and the lights – which go off at 10:00 pm at Lambrick Park – were in their favour. This would allow both coaches, the Eagles Anthony Pluta and the Mariners Mike Chewpoy to get as many players as possible into action, especially pitchers.

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The Mariners Chris Fougner (20) would get up and move to second when this pick off attempt eluded Eagles first baseman Tyson Abbott (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Winning or losing was not the key focus of the game Tuesday, but in typical Mariners-Eagles fashion, the game was entertaining and close. If one wants to be technical, the Eagles would have emerged victorious 3-2 in both a regulation 7-inning, or 9-inning game, but the Mariners would add another run late to have the evening end, somewhat appropriately, in a 3-3 tie after 11 innings of play.

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Tanner Hess would get things going for the Mariners Tuesday with a second inning RBI (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Mariners would open the scoring in the top of the second inning thanks to a bases-loaded, RBI groundout from Tanner Hess and an RBI single from Lucas Piechnik. Both runs would come off Eagle’s starter Riley Edmonds.

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The Mariners Lucas Piechnik heads to first after stroking an RBI single Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Eagles meanwhile, who went down in order in the first against the Mariners Colton Wood, a member of Canada’s National Junior Team, would look to get back into things in the bottom of the second. Sam Stevenson would be hit by a pitch from the Mariners Nick Dawson and then Kobe Morris would lay down a beautiful bunt single. When Michael Turcotte grounded out, the hard charging Stevenson attempted to score, but was denied by Mariners catcher Nick Seginowich to preserve the 2-0 Mariners lead.

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The Eagles Kobe Morris lays down a perfect bunt single in the second inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Mariners would threaten again in the top of the third after a one-out double from Seginowich, however a heads-up play from Eagles third baseman Morris, who faked a throw to first on a ground ball would catch Seginowich in a run-down and then a diving play by Morris on a ground ball by the next batter would get the Eagles out of the inning without further damage.

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Mariners catcher Nick Seginowich would make the tag on the Eagles Sam Stevenson on this play in the second inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After that, both sides would remain fairly quiet, the Eagles going down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings against Mariner pitchers Dan Phillips, Angus Catto and Liam Catto respectively, while the Mariners would do the same in the fourth, fifth and sixth against the Eagles Ethan Skuija.

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The brothers Catto, Angus (left) and Liam (right) pitched well Tuesday and will be two young arms the Mariners will rely on to give them effective bullpen relief in 2014 (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

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The Eagles Ethan Skuija threw three innings of no-hit ball at the Mariners on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

In the bottom of the sixth, the Mariners sent Broeden Wood, Colton’s younger brother, to the mound and after a ground out, he would struggle, walking Karsten Waters and Zane Takhar, who would then both score on a 2-RBI single from Ben Goertzen. Goertzen would then score on an infield hit from Stephen Thornton and the Eagles would lead 3-2.

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Ben Goertzen accounted for two of the Eagles three runs with a 2-RBI single in the sixth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

In the top of the seventh, the Eagles would send lefty Adam Bontkes to the mound. He would struggle a bit, issuing a pair of walks and his defence would allow an error to see the Mariners load the bases with two-outs, but then he would get an inning-ending grounder to third to preserve the Eagles 3-2 lead and unofficial victory.

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Eagles lefthander Adam Bontkes would shut the Mariners out in his three innings of work Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Bontkes would continue for the Eagles through the ninth inning, while the Mariners would counter with counter with Jacob Barnard and Chris Lata, all of whom worked their innings without any damage. The Mariners would then get to the Eagles late for an additional run to knot the score at 3-3 at game end.

As noted, the game was not about winning or losing and it gave Mariners Head Coach Mike Chewpoy and Pitching Coach Randy Holt a good chance to have a look at his pitching staff, one that based on the number of pitchers that appeared Tuesday, will be strong and deep and tough to contend with.

“Our pitching is pretty strong and with that, we have a defence first philosophy in that our pitching and defence will be key in winning games four us,” said Chewpoy prior to Wednesday night’s game. “Our four front guys, Wood, Dawson, Fougner and Phillips are returning from last year and will give us key innings. We have some nice new additions with the arms of the Catto brothers (Liam and Angus) and a slew of other guys we can use as needed out of the pen.”

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Mariners ace Colton Wood will be the #1 starter for Victoria this season (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Those additional arms include the likes of Jacob Barnard and Chris Lata, both of whom pitched Wednesday, as well as Mike and Morgan Varley, Mitch Bryan and Kieran Russell.

The Mariners pitching will be supported by a solid defence behind them. Evan Willow returns and will handle the bulk of the backstop duties with Nick Seginowich and Chris Lata spelling in as needed. Lata will also be a regular fixture at first base, while the middle infield will be handled capably by the likes of Mike and Morgan Varley, Mitch Bryan and Jeremy Patterson.

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The Mariners will share middle infield duties this season with a number of players including Mitch Bryan (left) and Jeremy Patterson (right)(Photos: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

At the hot corner, the Mariners expect Tanner Hess to see a good amount of action there, along with Jake Bosence and Matthew Wellington.

In the outfield, Chris Fougner will move to right field and be a regular fixture there for the Mariners this season. Next to him in centre will be the speedy Jesse Mycock, while Brett Irvine and Lucas Piechnik will see their share of time in left field.

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The Mariner’s Chris Fougner makes the switch from infield to right field for 2014 and will also be a key left-handed bat in the 2014 Mariners lineup (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

With twelve or so players returning from the 2013 Mariner squad that finished with a 32-16 record and a second place standing in league play, the 2014 squad should once again be near the top of the BCPBL leaderboard and is more than motivated to overcome their disappointing first round playoff exit last year en route to what they hope will be a 2014 PBL Championship.

The Mariners Premier’s home opener is scheduled for April 12th at Henderson Park versus the North Shore Twins and will commence with an official ball toss by local MLA Andrew Weaver and the singing of O Canada by 9-year old sensation Lily Cave. Game time is 1:00 PM.

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