Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 31, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Nanaimo pitcher Josh Burgmann threw a complete game four-hitter and Aaron Page hit a three-run, fourth-inning home run to break up a tight 1-1 tie to lead the Nanaimo Pirates to a 7-3 win over the host Victoria Eagles in the opening game for both teams of the 2015 Quality Foods BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) Provincial Championships Friday evening at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Nanaimo’s Josh Burgmann showed why he is on the Canadian Junior National Team as he spun a complete game, four-hit win against the Eagles on Friday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Burgmann and his counterpart on the mound for the Eagles, Ethan Skuija, two of the top pitchers in the BCPBL, gave everyone the pitching duel that was advertised, as both pitchers went toe-to-toe over the first three innings, with Skuija giving up just a second-inning single to Zach Diewert and Burgmann allowing a second inning single to Tanner Hess and double to Mitch Bryan, none of which would lead to a score.
Victoria baserunner Lenn Nakatsuka slides safely into second as Nanaimo shortstop Aaron Page leaps to get the throw during this play in the third inning. Nakatsuka would later score the Eagles first run (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles, or more specifically Lenn Nakatsuka, would take a 1-0 lead off Burgmann in the bottom of the third without getting a hit. Nakatsuka would draw a two-out walk, steal second, move to third on a passed ball and then score on a wild pitch, bringing the large hometown Eagles crowd to their feet.
Nanaimo’s Zach Diewert would have a pair of hits, including this fourth inning double that would get the Pirates four-run inning started (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That celebration would be short-lived however, as in the top of the fourth, the Pirates would get to Skuija for a four-run inning to take a lead they would never relinquish.
The big inning started when Diewert laced a leadoff double to left-centre, his second hit of the game, and was moved to thid on a single by Shawn Arabsky. After a Matt Skingle out, Garrett Goodall would execute a perfect bunt single to score Diewert and move Arabsky to second.
Victoria shortstop Kobe Morris can’t come up with the ball as Nanaimo’s Garrett Goodall slides safely into second base (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That set the stage for Page, who two batters later, took the first pitch he saw from Skuija over the leftfield fence to give the Pirates the 4-1 lead.
Nanaimo’s Aaron Page (left) and Victoria catcher Lenn Nakatsuka (right) watch as Page’s fourth inning 3-run homer sails over the leftfield fence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Pirates would add insurance runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and the 7-1 lead would be all the run support Burgmann would need, as he would retire the next ten batters he faced – a sixth inning walk to Nakatsuka was quickly erased when the Eagles runner was caught stealing – before giving up a walk, two singles and a pair of Eagle runs in the bottom of the seventh.
That would be the extent of the Eagles rally though, as Burgmann would strike out the Eagles leading hitter Tyler Duncan to end the game.
Victoria first baseman Brendan Turcotte stretches as far as he can go to reach an errant throw on Friday, as Nanaimo’s Shawn Arabsky easily beats the play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to Page’s big fourth inning blast, he added another hit and fourth RBI to his totals in the sixth. The Pirates Diewert, Goodall and Cole Warken also had two-hit days for the Pirates, with Warken and Goodall scoring a pair of runs each.
For the Eagles, Mitch Bryan had two of the four hits, with Hess and Goertzen adding the others. Nakatsuka had a pair of walks and scored a run.
Victoria’s Mitch Bryan had no problem facing Burgmmann Friday, as he had two of the Eagles four hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Skuija takes the loss for the Eagles, his first since June 10th, going five innings and giving up five runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out seven. Evan Smith threw two innings of relief, allowing one earned run on three hits, with one strikeout.
The Eagles will look to rebound on Saturday when they take on the A’s in a 3:00 PM start and then the Twins immediately after at 5:30 PM. The A’s defeated the Twins 6-5 in extra innings on Friday.
The Pirates outfield trio celebrate their 7-3 win over Victoria Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Also on Saturday, the A’s will look for their second win of the round-robin on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM as they take on the Pirates, while the Twins and Pirates will meet in a 12:30 match-up.
Should a third place tie-breaking game be needed, it will go at 8:00 PM Saturday night.