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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 1, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – It was “close but no cigar” for the Victoria Eagles Junior Premier baseball team Saturday, as they dropped a pair of games to the visiting North Delta Blue Jays, losing 5-3 in 10 innings and then falling 9-6 in Game 2 in BC Junior Premier League action at Lambrick Park.

North Delta second baseman Clay Sandover turns a key double-play in Game 1 Saturday, well ahead of a sliding Jeeven Sall (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The losses were a microcosm of the Junior Eagles season to date. Their 2-15 record and last place standing in the league hides the fact that the team is competing hard, has had a chance to win many of their games – eight of their seventeen games, including one of their wins, has been decided by three or fewer runs – and that the players are learning the game and gaining valuable experience that will help them as they move up the ranks to the Premier Eagles and beyond.

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The Eagle’s Jordan Strandlund would pitch a beauty Saturday, going 7 and 1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 8 and walking none (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Saturday’s games were no different. In Game 1, the Eagles trailed 3-0 to the 4th place Blue Jays before rallying with three runs of their own in the bottom of the 4th inning to tie it up. And thanks to a stellar outing from the Eagles left-handed starter Jordan Strandlund, who went 7 and 1/3 innings, scattering 6 hits, striking out 8, out more impressively, walking nobody, the game went into extra innings, before the Jays were able to get to reliever Jacob Potter for a pair in the top of the 10th to emerge with the 5-3 win.

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Although it appears his fingers are on the bag prior to the tag, the Eagle’s Fynn Chester was called out on this pick-off attempt in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Eagles had their chances to win, notably in the bottom of the sixth when a base running error resulted in an out at third base instead of runners on first and second with one-out, and again in the bottom of the seventh, when a controversial pick-off call at first denied the Eagles another opportunity to have a pair of runners on with just one out.

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North Delta’s Daniel Gosselin has been dominating on the mound this season and has amassed 54 strikeouts in 32 and 2/3 innings of work. On Saturday he earned a win and a save, and struck out 8 in the two Blue Jay wins over the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Following that, the Eagles were shut down by the pitching of Daniel Gosselin, who leads the Junior circuit in strikeouts and who showed why, striking out 6 Eagle batters in his 2 and 2/3 innings of work, to get the win.

In Game 2, the Eagles jumped into an early 4-1 lead over the Blue Jays and starter Mackenzie Marquis. In the top of the third however, the North Delta bats awoke and they got to Eagle’s starter Lawson MacDonald for 5 runs and never looked back.

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North Delta second baseman Clay Sandover would make the catch and tag out the Eagle’s Ethan Tremblay on this steal attempt in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Blue Jays added three more in the top of the 4th off the Eagle’s Justice Carter and after the Eagles chipped back with a pair of runs in the bottom of that inning off North Delta reliever Alex Davis, the Blue Jays once again turned the ball over to Gosselin, who cruised the rest of the way, adding two more strikeouts to his league leading total of 54 and earning the save in the 9-6 win.

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North Delta baserunner Joel Bourque would slide in behind Eagles catcher Devon Gall with what would be the winning run in the Blue Jays 5-3 victory in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Junior squad will be back in action again on Sunday as they host the third place North Shore Twins for a pair at Lambrick. The 13-6 Twins are coming off 1-0 and 7-4 wins over the Victoria Mariners on Saturday and will be another tough challenge for the young Eagles. Game 1 is scheduled for 11:00 am at Lambrick Park.