Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 21, 2015, Victoria BC (ISN) – The Victoria Eagles and Victoria Mariners closed out the 2015 BC Premier Baseball League regular season with a game at Henderson Park on Tuesday night and it was the Mariners who came away with a 9-3 win on a blustery and cool summer evening in front of a good crowd.
The Mariners Nick Dawson (left) gets congratulations from injured Mariner Michael Varley (right) when Dawson left the game in the sixth inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win splits the season series between the two teams at two games each and gives the Mariners a happy note on which to end what can only be described as a disappointing season, winning just three of their final ten games and finishing with a 15-29 record and out of the BCPBL playoffs for the first time in the 12 years that Head Coach Mike Chewpoy has been at the helm.
“Yeah it’s been a long season,” said Chewpoy prior to Tuesday’s game. “We’ve gone through a lot and when three of my top seniors were injured at different parts of the season [Chris Lata, Chris Blaskovich and Michael Varley have all missed signigficant time with injuries], it made it tough to put some consistent line-ups together.”
Tuesday’s win was sparked by recent Team BC Selection Jason Willow, who had three hits on the day with a pair of RBIs, both of which came in the bottom of the second inning. Another Team BC selection, Nick Seginowhich also produced for the M’s with a hit, RBI and a two runs scored.
Mariners basrunner Jason Willow (16) beats out one of his three hits in the first inning Tuesday as Eagles first baseman Martin Eckard reaches for the throw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Mariners would also take advantage of a wild Karsten Waters, the Eagle’s starting pitcher, who gave up seven walks, seven wild pitches in his three innings of work. He gave up four runs in total, two of which came on wild pitches with runners on third.
Waters was relieved by lefty Adam Bontkes and he did not fare much better, giving up five Mariner runs (three earned) on five hits and a pair of walks. Bontkes also committed a key error, throwing a ball well past first on a sacrifice bunt attempt that led to two of the Mariner’s three sixth inning runs coming in to score. Stephen Wade also pitched for the Eagles, getting the final out in the sixth inning.
On the mound for the Mariners Nick Dawson made his final start as a Mariner – he is off to Salt Lake Community College in September – and picked up the win, going 5.1 innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking ot three. Cole Russell cleaned up the final 1.2 innings, giving up just a pair of hits.
Nick Dawson got the win for the Mariners in his final start for the M’s (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the Eagles offensively, Head Coach Anthonly Pluta made sure a large portion of his bench, including some Junior Eagles, had some playing time, so 16 different players came to bat in the game, with eight different players getting hits. Brendan Turcotte, Mitch Bryan and Ben Goertzen were three of those players and they all eventually came in to score the Eagles’ three runs. Tanner Hess and Kieran Waters had the only two RBIs credited to the Eagles.
The loss closes out the Eagles 2015 record at 31-13 and the 31 wins are a franchise record for the team. Their sweep of the Langley Blaze in a double-header last Saturday cemented their second place standing in the league behind the 34-10 North Shore Twins and they will now gear up to play the 7th place North Delta Blue Jays (21-23) in the first round of the BCPBL playoffs, and no matter what happens there, get ready to host the BCPBL championships featuring the final four teams (five if the Eagles lose to North Delta) on the August long weekend at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Kieran Waters swats home one of the Eagles three runs on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Of course the Eagles don’t want to back into their own championships, and it will be a challenge for Head Coach Anthony Pluta to keep his team motivated in that first round. “Nobody wants to lose baseball games,” said Pluta prior to Tuesday’s game. “You want to come out, you want to compete and you want to earn it. We don’t want to be gifted a final four or final five spot. We’ve come this far and been a top two team, so we want to go out and beat North Delta and make it on our own accord into the top four. That should be motivation enough for our guys.”
Eagles baserunner Ben Goertzen slides safely to second as Mariners second baseman Brandon White waits for the throw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles will begin those playoffs at home on Saturday against North Delta with a pair of games, with Game 3 (if needed) to be played at Lambrick on Sunday. Game times have not been announced but it can be assumed that Saturday’s double-header will begin at Noon.
Tanner Hess had one of the Eagles RBIs Tuesday to push his team leading total to 37, good enough for second in that category in the BCPBL (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Five players from the Eagles and Mariners have been selected for Team BC’s U18 squad that will play in the Canada Cup in Saskatoon in August. For the Mariners, Jason Willow and Nick Seginowich will be attending, while the Eagles are sending Tyler Duncan, Kobe Morris and Martin Eckard (as an alternate). Tanner Hess has set a new Eagles RBI record with 37 RBIs, good enough for second in the BCPBL. Ethan Skuija (1.54) and Fynn Chester (1.71) have finished in 4th and 5th respectively in the BCPBL ERA standings. Tyler Duncan with a .371 average finished sixth in the league batting race.