Erich Eichhorn (ISN) – In a city otherwise known for it’s hockey and football prowess, there is a group of baseball players looking to make waves in the local sporting community.
The tadpole division Nanaimo Pirates take time out to for a group photo prior to thier intersquad game Tuesday night in Nanaimo – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Last night the Nanaimo Baseball Association’s Tadpole Division-leading Nanaimo Pirates Allstars took to their home field at Sid Clark Gyro Park in an inter-squad game to work out the few kinks this high-octane team might have leading into next weekends hosting of their own tournament July 17-19, and a date in Cloverdale for the BC Provincial Championships July 23-26.
Seven year old Max Lillyman turn on the ball for a base hit – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A Pirates fielder winds up for the long ball to a waiting teammate – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Pirate Allstars, chosen at the beginning of the baseball season, are the league’s representative best players in the 7-9 age category, picked from over 100 league players, have lived up to their billing so far this season. In regular season play, the Pirates have put up an amazing 11-0 record against their opponents. Looking for a competitive edge, their only three losses of the season were in tournament play south of the boarder against some very strong USA teams.
The throw out at third from home plate takes a skip, giving a stolen base to the grey side – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The record, an impressive feat in itself, is overshadowed by the fact that the team has more than just game adversity to contend with. More than half the players chosen to play on this team suffer from diseases ranging from autism, diabetes, and blood disorders to name a few. With the collective support of their parents, these players come to the field committed, putting their day-to-day struggles behind them, fueled by their one common, team-driven passion.
Pirates pitcher beats his intersquad batter counterpart to finish the inning – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
With all the swagger of major league baseball players, not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, showing big league swings of the bat, and infield play that would give reason to their record. The disciplined squad, run by Head Coach Rene Gutierrez and a host of supporting coaching and management staff, hinge on every word Gutierrez spoke. That might have something to do with the pedigree Gutierrez brings to the field. Coach Gutierrez, himself a Pirates alumni, brings college, semi and professional baseball experience to the ballpark, having played ball in the USA after his career as a Pirate.
Looking all the part of a MLB player, seven year old Max Lillyman awaits the throw – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Experiencing the many levels of play to get to where he has travelled in is baseball tenure; Coach Gutierrez would offer this about his current team. “ They are the most dedicated, driven, baseball-love filled young men you will ever meet. They have a unique team chemistry found only on championship teams around the world. My college baseball experience has seen many types of teams, but I can truly say this team has something special.”
Head Coach Rene Gutierrez brings his knowledge and passion of the game to his players – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
“Special” may be an understatement. Regardless of the team’s final season outcome, players, coaches, parents, and especially the community have something to be proud of. The Nanaimo baseball community has something to look forward to in these players hopefully for years to come.
These and more images are available at this link – http://tinyurl.com/nq74fmw