Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Eagles snapped an early-season, seven game losing streak with a 10-8 win over the Whalley Chiefs Saturday afternoon at Lambrick Park in Victoria and in the process, handed the previously unbeaten Chiefs (7-0) their first loss of the 2016 BC Premier Baseball League season.
Victoria game two starter Kobe Morris would get the win Saturday, going 4.2 innings and giving up 3 runs on 4 hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles win came in the second game of their double-header with the Chiefs and gave them some measure of retribution for an 8-1 loss earlier in the day.
It has been a season of tough knocks so far for the Eagles in 2016, as following an opening day split with the Parksville Royals on April 9th, the Eagles hit the road for six straight games, losing a pair each to the Abbotsford Cardinals, the Langley Blaze and the Coquitlam Reds before coming back to the friendly confines of Lambrick Park on Saturday.
Eagles catcher Jayden Wakeham had a pair of hits, including a 2-RBI double in the first inning, to help the Eagles to a 10-8 win over Whalley on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
If there is good news to come out of their eight losses thus far, it has been that four of them have been by just a single run, including two nail-biters to the Blaze and six have come when last year’s BCPBL offensive player of the year, Tyler Duncan has been out of the line-up while attending with the Canadian National Junior team and playing at other showcase tournaments.
What that has meant for the Eagles is that their young guns are getting the chance to see a ton of innings so far this spring, which will only benefit the team down the road when Duncan is back.
Eagles pitcher Kobe Morris would help himself out at the plate Saturday with a 3-RBI afternoon in the 10-8 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
It was also a big benefit to the team on Saturday, as it was a number of those young guns who sparked the Eagles offence in the first inning of game two, notably when Premier rookies Jayden Wakeham and Luke Seginowich had key back-to-back, two-out, RBI doubles, followed up by an RBI single from rookie Colton O’Brien in what would be a five-run first for the Eagles.
Wakeham would finish the day with a pair of hits, a pair of RBIs and a run scored , while Seginowich would also finish with a pair of hits, RBI and two runs scored to pace the offence.
It was a busy day at second base for both teams during the Eagles 10-8 win over Whalley on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Another big contribution from a Premier rookie was an RBI single from Parker Swinton in the bottom of the sixth inning that plated what turned out to be the game winning run for the Eagles.
The story was no less different on the mound in game two Saturday. After Eagles veteran Kobe Morris pitched the Eagles into the fifth inning with a 7-2 lead, he faltered with two-outs and the Eagles went to Junior call-up Mike Musselwhite.
Musselwhite would take his knocks, surrendering a walk, double, balk and a single that saw the Chiefs score three runs and cut the lead to 7-5, but he would get a big strikeout to end the inning and keep the Eagles in the lead.
Eagles relieves Mike Muselwhite (top) and Noah Doorschot (bottom) were clutch when they needed to be, getting big plays to deny Whalley rallies late in Saturday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles would score a pair in the bottom of the inning to bump the lead to 9-5 and then hand the ball to another Junior call-up Noah Doorschot, who like Musselwhite, would have some difficulty and thanks to some errors behind him, give up a pair of runs to the Chiefs in the sixth to cut the gap to 9-7.
The Eagles would score another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and the Chiefs would threaten again in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out on a walk and pair of singles surrendered by Doorschot. The rookie would then make his best pitch of the game to induce a huge 6-4-3 run-scoring double play and then use the momentum from that to strike out the final batter of the game and preserve the Eagles 10-8 win.
The Eagles Andy Weir rounds second en route to scoring a late insurance run against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“We just have not had the bounces going our way so far this year,” said Eagles assistant coach Jay Longpre, “so it was nice to see the kids get some breaks here and hang on for the win. “
The win moves the Eagles record to 2-8 on the season and hopefully gives them some spark moving forward. It does not get any easier though for them, as they now travel Sunday to the North Shore to face the Twins, the 2015 BCPBL Champions who have also started the season undefeated with a 6-0 record. They return to Lambrick on Saturday the 30th to host the North Delta Blue Jays.
Eagles catcher Jayden Wakeham (right) congratulates pitcher Noah Doorschott (left) after closing out the win against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Whalley falls to 7-1 on the season and they will stay in Victoria to have a big early season match-up with the also undefeated Victoria Mariners, who have surprised many by starting the season at 6-0, including 8-3 and 8-1 wins Saturday over Abbotsford. Game times for those are at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm at Henderson Park.