Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 20, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Eagles seem to be peaking at the right time as they gear up to defend their 2013 BC Premier Baseball League title when the 2014 playoffs begin next weekend. With three wins over the weekend against the visiting Okanagan A’s, the Eagles have now won 8 out of their last 10 and have solidified a place in the BCPBL playoffs.
Okanagan baserunner Chase Decosse slides safely into third base ahead of the tag by the Eagles Tyler DeMan during Sunday’s action (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
The only remaining question is who the Eagles play in the first round. Currently tied for 5th with the Vancouver Cannons – both teams at 25-21, 2 games back of the 4th place A’s, and 1.5 games up on the 7th place White Rock Tritons (24-23), it will come down to Tuesday’s final double-header of the season against the North Shore Twins to decide the final standings.
With a pair of wins over the Twins, the Eagles could find themselves in 5th, necessitating a trip to the Okanagan for a date with the 4th place, A’s. Two losses and they may drop to 6th or 7th depending on tie-break formulas with White Rock.
Okanagan A’s Chase Decosse would beat the throw to Victoria’s Alex Hendra-Brown on this play Sunday (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
A 7th place finish would likely put them up against the Twins, and a 6th place finish would mean a likely date with the crosstown Victoria Mariners, who have finished the year at 34-14 and are currently in third, but need to wait until the first place Blaze (34-12) and second place Twins (29-11) complete their schedules before they know their fate as well.
Okanagan second baseman Jared Young turns the double play on the Eagle’s sliding Karsten Waters (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In the weekend series with the A’s, the Eagles dominated on Saturday, winning by scores of 9-5 and 8-2. Dallas Patterson improved his record to 8-0 in Game 1, going the full 7 innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 strikeouts.
Alex Hendra-Brown provided the offensive highlight with a bases-clearing double in the 6th inning that put the Eagles ahead to stay. Ben Goertzen also had a pair of RBIs, while Stephen Thornton had a pair of hits and a run scored.
Alex Hendra-Brown, although struggling here Sunday, had a good day Saturday with 5 RBIs in the two Victoria wins (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
In Game 2 Saturday, it was pitcher Riley Edmonds’ turn to shine as he threw a complete game 5-hitter, striking out seven. Neither Edmonds in Game 2 or Patterson in Game 1 issued a single walk to the A’s.
Hendra-Brown was once again a leader offensively as he notched a triple and pair of RBIs. Tyler Duncan also matched that with a triple and RBI of his own, while Sam Stevenson was 2-3 with a double and an RBI.
On Sunday, the Eagles kept things rolling with a 5-1 win over the A’s in Game 1. Adam Bontkes got the start and he went 5 innings giving up just 2 hits and the 1 run while walking 3 and striking out 5. Noah Brasset and Drew Davidoff pitched an inning each of scoreless relief.
Adam Bontkes would get the game 1 win Sunday, throwing 5 innings and giving up just a single run on two hits (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
Offensively, the Eagles broke open a scoreless tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning when Brendan Turcotte would double and eventually score on a wild pitch and Zane Takhar would walk and come home on an RBI single from Sam Stevenson.
The Eagles would add single runs in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to put the game on ice. Turcotte and Evan Smith would have a pair of hits and an RBI each, while Takhar would walk and score twice. Tyler Duncan also chipped in a triple and a run scored.
The Eagles Brendan Turcotte would have 4 hits, including 2 doubles, and 4 RBIs in the weekend series against the A’s (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
In the closing game of the series, the Eagles sent ace Ethan Skuija to the mound in the hopes of a sweep, but the young 17-year old, recently named to Team Canada for next month’s Canada Cup in Saskatoon, had a very uncharacteristic outing, giving up four first inning runs (only two earned) and another two runs in the third, as the A’s spoiled the sweep, winning 6-2.
Okanagan pitcher Easton Forrest was the star in this game, holding the Eagles to their 2 runs on 7 scattered hits, while walking 2 and striking out 2.
The Eagles Evan Smith would pitch an inning of scoreless relief in Game 2 Sunday, while also contributing a pair of hits and an RBI in the Game 1 win (Photo: Christian J Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles now complete the 2014 regular season with a double-header against the North Shore Twins on Tuesday afternoon at Lambrick Park. The strange day and time is because this is a make-up game from the first weekend of the season when the Twins were supposed to visit Victoria, but instead were in the U.S. at a tournament. Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon.