Premier Eagles Soar to Best Start Ever With Sweep of Reds

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

May 2, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Eagles are sitting at the top of the BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) standings with a 10-4 record thanks to a double-header sweep of the Coquitlam Reds on Saturday, winning by scores of 4-2 (in eight innings) and 1-0 at Lambrick Park in Victoria.

Victoria Eagles batter Tyler Duncan (right) and Reds cather Thierry Parker (left) watch Duncan’s 8th inning home run sail toward the centerfield fence in Game 1 Saturday.  The 2 run shot gave the Eagles a walk-off 4-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

While technically their 10-4 record leaves them in a tie for fourth place percentage wise with the also 10-4 Okanagan Athletics, the ten wins by both are the most so far by any team in the BCPBL so far this season.

It also marks the quickest the franchise has reached the ten win mark in their six seasons and they can thank a couple of players who should be in the fold next year for helping them get there Saturday, those being Tyler Duncan and Fynn Chester.

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Eagles pitcher Fynn Chester made his first start of the year in Game 2 Saturday and was brilliant, scattering 4 hits over six innings of work and picking up the 1-0 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Duncan, a Grade 11 student and sweet-swinging lefty who many feel may be the next legitimate pro prospect to come out of Victoria, walked to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 1 Saturday with the score tied 2-2 and a runner on first and promptly deposited the first pitch he saw from Reds pitcher Drew Horton over the centerfield fence, nearly 400 feet away from home plate, giving the Eagles a dramatic 4-2 walk-off, extra-inning win.

The home run was his second of the season, which leads the BCPBL, and the two RBIs, along with one earlier in the game, gave him 16 RBIs on the year, which leads the Eagles and is good enough for second in the BCPBL.

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Tyler Duncan is all grins as he heads to first after his 8th inning home run, while on deck batter Tanner Hess (right) begins the celebration (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Chester, a Grade 10 student who is also generating some college and pro discussion, made his first start of the season on the mound for the Eagles in Game 2 and he was stellar, holding the Reds to just 4 scattered hits over six full innings of work and picking up a tight 1-0 win, his third of the season, striking out seven in the process.

The youngster was calm and collected on the mound and kept the Reds off guard all day with a sneaky-quick fastball and a good selection of off-speed pitches. His worst trouble came in the top of the third, when he allowed and then stranded two base runners and he finished his six innings by retiring the last six batters that he faced.

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With steelie-eyed intensity, the Eagle’s Fynn Chester cruised through six innings of work in earning the 1-0 win in Game 2 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Of course the Eagles had a few assists from some other players on Saturday to get the two wins.

Ethan Skuija started Game 1 for the Eagles and cruised through the first three innings before the Reds got to him for a run in the fourth. Coquitlam threatened again in the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out, but Skuija pitched his way out of the jam, getting a force out at the plate, a strike out and a ground out to leave the game with a 2-1 lead.

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The Eagles Ethan Skuija started Game 1 Saturday and pitched well enough to leave with a 2-1 lead after five innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Evan Smith came in to relieve Skuija and while he gave up the tying run in the sixth, the first earned run off of Smith in four appearances this season, he struck out the final two batters in the seventh to get out of a jam and retired the first two batters in the eighth before giving way to Brendan Turcotte, who came in with runners on first and third and induced a ground ball to second to end yet another Coquitlam threat. With that two-pitch performance and thanks to Duncan’s heroics in the bottom of the frame, Turcotte got credit for the win.

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With just two pitches, Eagles reliver Brendan Turcotte got his team out of some 8th inning trouble and thanks to Tyler Duncan’s home run, ended up wih the Game 1 victory (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

At the plate, in addition to Duncan’s two hits and three RBIs, Kobe Morris had a pair of hits, while team batting leader Tanner Hess (.419), Mitch Bryan, Lenn Nakatsuka and Ben Goertzen added a hit each.

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With two more hits on Saturday, the Eagles Tanner Hess has risen to the top of the Eagles batting charts, sporting a .419 average (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In Game 2 it really was all about the fine pitching of Chester, but he got some help from veteran Karsten Waters who came in to pitch the seventh inning, retiring the side to pick up the save.

Offensively, Red’s pitchers Kole Benard (4 IP) and Jared Clark (2 IP) did a good job to limit the Eagles to just five hits, all off Benard, with the lone Eagles run coming in the bottom of the third when Nakatsuka walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and then came in to score on a throw to second on a steal attempt by Duncan, who had reached previously when hit by a pitch.

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The Eagles Kobe Morris has been solid at short-stop for the Eagles so far this season and here makes a tough throw on a slow rolling ground ball during Game 2 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Eagles will now get a rare Sunday off and then leave the friendly confines of Lambrick Park for a six-game road trip, travelling to White Rock on May 9th to face the Tritons, Abbotsford on May 10th to face the Cardinals and Whalley on May 17th to face the Chiefs. They return to Lambrick on Saturday May 23 to host the Abbotsford Cardinals.

In other BCPBL action of note Saturday, the Victoria Mariners dropped a pair of games to the North Shore Twins, 9-2 and 7-0 and are now 2-8 to start the season. The Nanaimo Pirates (6-6) split a pair with the Whalley Chiefs, losing 5-3 and winning 3-1, while the Parksville Royals (2-8) split with White Rock, losing 10-9 and winning 7-5.

For more Victoria Eagles game action photos, please head to http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/eagles

Follow Independent Sports News on Twitter at @islandsports1 and Christian J. Stewart at @cjs_photography

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