Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 5, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Hanging on precariously to one of the final two BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) playoff positions, the Victoria Eagles did themselves no favours Tuesday by dropping a pair of games, 1-0 and 10-2, to the Langley Blaze in a rare weekday afternoon double-header at Lambrick Park in Victoria.
Langley baserunner Travis Horanski (62) is tagged out at the plate on this play by Eagle’s catcher Cam Devlin (left). Horanski was trying to score on a sacrifice fly in game two Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Tuesday match-up was scheduled as a make-up date for a pair of games that were cancelled earlier in the season because the Blaze were away at a tournament and could not make it to the Island.
The losses leave the Eagles with a record of 16-19 and in a seventh place tie with the also 16-19 Coquitlam Reds and now fighting for their playoff lives. Both are four games back of sixth place Whalley and only 2.5 games up on ninth place Abbotsford with nine games left to play. The top eight teams move on to the post-season.
Johnny Homza had a 2-RBI double to kick-start the Langley offence in game two (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Abbotsford has three games in hand however and that is where the concern is for Eagles Manager Anthony Pluta. “Our schedule the rest of the way is all against teams that are ahead of us in the standings,” said Pluta between games Tuesday. “That’s great if we win, because it means the teams behind us can’t catch us, but if we lose and Coquitlam and Abbotsford win enough games, especially with Abby playing three more games than us, we could find ourselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.”
The Eagles had their best chance on Tuesday to put another notch in the win column in game one of their set with the Blaze, as Fynn Chester spun a beauty of a game, holding the Blaze to just a first inning run and scattering seven hits over his seven full innings of work.
Marshall Luiz had a two-RBI double in the second to give Langley a 4-0 win and send them well on their way to a 10-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Unfortunately though, the Eagles offence, who had runners in scoring position in four out of the first five innings, could not come through with a clutch hit when needed and the Blaze would eke out a 1-0 win.
Kyle Prather pitched 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one walk, while striking out four, to get the win for the Blaze. Kyle Ross allowed one hit over 2.1 innings to earn the save.
In the second game of the day, it was more of the same for the Eagles, but the complete opposite for the Blaze, as Langley would out-hit Victoria 7-5 to thump the Eagles 10-2.
Johnny Homza’s two-RBI double off Eagles starter Stephen Wade got things going for the Blaze in the first, while another two-RBI double, this time by Marshall Luiz in the second, made it 4-0 in a hurry.
The Eagles would get a glimmer of hope in the fourth inning Tuesday as they would score a pair of runs, including the first of the game by Lenn Nakatsuka to make it 4-2 at the time (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles would respond with a pair in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to an RBI-double by Cam Devlin and an RBI ground out by Kieran Waters, but two more Blaze runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh put the game on ice.
Aiden Mordecai gets the win for the Blaze with four innings of work, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks. Yi-An Pan was solid in relief, giving up three hits in his three innings of work to get the save.
Stephen Wade (2 IP, 4R, 5H) takes the loss. Jacob Butler and Brody Stark saw action in relief.
Jacob Butler would hold the Eagles close in relief until he gave up a pair of runs in the sixth (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles now hit the road Wednesday for another make-up double-header, this time travelling to the North Shore for a pair of games that were rained out earlier in the season. They head to Whalley for a pair on Sunday July 10th and then return home for five straight to close out the season.
On Tuesday July 12th at 6:00 pm it will be the final match-up of the season with the Victoria Mariners and then on Saturday and Sunday the 16th and 17th the Okanagan A’s come to town for a four game set that starts at 3:00 pm on the 16th. Sunday’s games are scheduled for 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.