Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Victoria, BC (ISN) – Don’t look now but the Nanaimo Pirates are on the move. After beginning the season with a 1-9 record, the Pirates have won six of their last nine BC Premier Baseball League games, including 5-3 and 7-2 wins over the Victoria Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Lambrick Park in Victoria.
Nanaimo’s Colin Berelli heads to first after stroking a 2-RBI first-inning single to start the Pirates off on the right foot in their 7-2 win over the Eagles in game two Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The two wins give the Pirates a 7-12 record and boosts them into 10th place in the league, but just a game in the loss column away from the Coquitlam Reds and the eighth and final playoff position. The Pirates finished second to the North Shore Twins in last year’s BCPBL Championships and after their poor start, they would like nothing better than to get back into a playoff position and have a chance to get to the final four once again in 2016.
Eagles starter Stephen Wade deserved a better fate Sunday, throwing five strong innings before a crucial error and some ill-timed walks, resulted in a loss despite not giving up any earned runs in his 5.2 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In Saturday’s first game, the Pirates struggled against Victoria Eagles starter Stephen Wade, mustering just a single run off one hit through the first five innings while striking out five times and trailed the Eagles 2-1 heading to the sixth.
Nanaimo’s Garrett Goodall heads to third base during the Pirates four-run sixth inning on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That would be when their luck would change however and after another strikeout and a ground-out to start the inning, a crucial error by Eagles centre fielder Kieran Waters on a long fly ball, allowed Garrett Goodall to reach third. That seemed to unhinge the Eagle’s Wade and after a walk, single, two more walks (one with the bases loaded) and a hit batter, the Pirates had scored three runs and taken a 4-2 lead.
The Eagle’s Parker Swinton was one offensive bright spot for the Eagles Sunday, notching three hits in the two games against Nanaimo (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles then went to reliever Fynn Chester and he gave up an RBI single to Thomas Leaf to give the Pirates an insurance run and despite a run by the Eagles in the bottom of the inning, allowed them to finish with the 5-3 win.
It was a tough finish for Wade who takes the loss, despite not allowing any earned runs and striking out seven in his 5.2 innings of work.
Nanaimo’s Wyatt Strachan (7) slides safely into second ahead of the throw to the Eagles Kobe Morris on this stolen base attempt in Game 2 Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the Pirates, William Drewry, who came in to relieve starter Sam Baker in the fourth inning, gets the win, allowing just one run on two hits in his four innings of work.
In Game two Sunday, the Pirates got on the bats early, scoring four runs in the first and second inning off Eagles starter Brody Stark.
Nanaimo pitcher Garrett Goodall would get the complete game 7-2 win in Game two Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
They would score two more off reliever Martin Eckard in the sixth and another in the top of the seventh to build a 7-0 lead, before the Eagles finally figured out Nanaimo starter Garrett Goodall with a pair of runs thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back doubles by Parker Swinton (his second hit of the game), Jayden Wakeham and Luke Seginowich.
Goodall, who to that point had given up just four scattered Eagles hits and had retired the last nine in a row before the Swinton double, then settled down to get the next two batters and close out the 7-2 win.
The Eagle’s Kobe Morris would be another Eagle who enjoyed a three-hit day on Sunday, including a triple in game one (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With the losses, the Eagles fall to 9-12 on the season and sit in seventh place, just two games up in the win column over Nanaimo.
The Eagles will need to regroup quickly as they have an important week ahead, first hosting the 15-5 Victoria Mariners for a game at Lambrick Park on Tuesday night and then heading to Royal Athletic Park on Thursday night June 2 to face the Mariners in a showcase game that is part of the opening week festivities for the Victoria HarbourCats who begin their West Coast League season this week.
They then head to Nanaimo on Saturday for a re-match with the Pirates and then on to Parksville Sunday for a pair against the Royals.
Game Notes: The Eagles were without Tyler Duncan once again as he is on the road with the Canadian Junior Team. Also missing in action were Ethan Tremblay (shoulder injury) and Jacob Potter, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to emergency appendix surgery he had earlier this week.