Eagles Split With Cardinals, Move to Top of BCPBL Standings

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

May 23, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – After moving into a tie for first place in the BC Premier Baseball League with a 9-6 win over the Abbotsford Cardinals in game one of a double-header Saturday, the Victoria Eagles missed an opportunity to sit in first all by themselves, when the visiting Cardinals rebounded for a tight 8-7 win in game two at Lambrick Park on Saturday.

Abbotsford catcher Trevor Wilford can’t come up with the ball as Victoria’s Mitch Bryan tip-toes around him for one of the Eagle’s 9 runs in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The now 16-6 Eagles, built a 9-1 lead in game one, thanks to a ten-hit attack that was highlighted by a two-run homer from Brendan Turcotte in a three-run second inning and a three-run shot from Tanner Hess in the sixth. Turcotte also added another RBI in the third, as did Len Nakatsuka and Kobe Morris.

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Victoria’s Brendan Turcotte is congratulated by teammates after his 2-run homer in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Ethan Skuija got the start on the mound for the Eagles and was a bit shaky early, getting into trouble in both the second and third innings, but then pitching his way out of it, leaving two Cardinals stranded on base in each inning. The Cardinals only run came in the third, on a leadoff homerun from the Cardinal’s Tanner Rempel.

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Cardinal shortstop Ethan Kano-McGregor would get the tag down in time on the Eagle’s Ben Goertzen on this play early in Game 1 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After that Skuija settled in nicely and cruised through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, giving up just a lone fifth inning single, before being replaced by closer Evan Smith in the seventh, with a comfortable 9-1 lead.

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Victoria pitcher Ethan Skuija would run his record to 5-1 with a solid performance over the Cardinals on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Smith was not so lucky and after giving up a leadoff single and a pair of walks to start the inning, he would strike out Carter Loewen and Jereymi Longpre, but then give up three straight hits to Konner Piotto-Cook, Colton Harold and Trevor Wilford and suddenly the Cardinals had pulled within three at 9-6.

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Victoria’s Mitch Bryan slides in safely to second ahead of the tag by Abbotsford shortstop Ethan Kano-McGregor (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That would be the end of the threat however, as a relieved Smith would strike out Ethan Kano-McGregor to end the game and give the Eagles the win.

In game two of the set, the Cardinals would get to Eagles starter Fynn Chester for a pair of runs in the first, but the young righthander would settle down after that, pitching a scoreless second, third and fourth, before giving up another run in the fifth to close out his day.

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The Eagles’ Fynn Chester would have another good outing, leaving Game 2 with a 6-3 lead, only to watch his bullpen give the Cardinals the 8-7 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Meanwhile, the Victoria offence would send Chester off with a 6-3 lead after five, thanks to runs in each of the first and second innings and two more in each of the third and fifth, all of which came on just three hits, the biggest being a second inning triple from Brendan Turcotte.

The Cardinals, who were frustrated all day by Eagles pitching, would finally come alive in the sixth innng, when Jerymi Longpre, who had struck out in each of his previous six at bats on the day, made up for it by launching a monster home run off the scoreboard in deep right field off Eagles reliever Kobe Morris.

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Abbotsford shortstop Chase Stewart puts the tag on a sliding Kieran Waters during this play at second in Game 2 Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Morris would surrender another home run to the Cardinals Colton Harold to leadoff the seventh to make the score 6-5, before being replaced by the left-handed Turcotte. Turcotte would fare no better, giving up a pair of singles before Longpre struck again, this time stroking a three-run homer to give the Cardinals an 8-6 lead.

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Eagles baserunner Tyler Duncan slides hard into second in an attempt to break up a double-play chance by the Cardinal’s Ryan Hamilton (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Eagles would get one of those back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Turcotte, but it would not be enough and the Cardinals would escape with the split, pounding out 13 hits in the 8-7 win.

The Eagles 16 wins gives them the most victories of any team in the BCPBL so far this season, one more than the idle Langley Blaze and two more than the idle North Shore Twins. The 16-6 record has the Eagles mathematically one-half game back of the Twins for the League lead.

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The Eagles Brendan Turcotte would have a good day at the plate Saturday, finishing with 4 hits, including a home-run and 3 RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

They will have a chance to improve upon that record on Sunday, when they travel to Nanaimo for a pair against the 14-10 Pirates. The Pirates split a pair with the Victoria Mariners Saturday winning the first game 6-5 while the Mariners (now 4-12) rebounded for a 5-1 win in game two.

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