Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 26, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Duncan “Rickies” scored seven runs in their final two at bats to break open a close game, then hung on in the final inning to defeat Ladysmith 12-9 in the Greater Victoria Baseball Association (GVBA) Bantam A Championship played Monday night at Lambrick Park in Victoria.
Ladysmith held an early 2-1 lead, but a four-run second inning by the Rickies, highlighted by a two-RBI double from Nate Kneedham, put Duncan ahead 5-2, a lead they would never relinquish.
Keeping the Ladysmith bats at bay was Duncan starting pitcher Karter Blandin, who single-handedly retired, all via strikeout, the 12 outs he needed in his four full innings of work. He also single-handedly gave Ladysmith their four runs up to that point by walking four batters, all of whom eventually came around to score via stolen bases and wild pitches.
Ladysmith starter Shawn Parks was also staying effective and after the big Duncan second inning, would retire the five batters he faced before giving way to reliever Aidan Kikkham in the fourth.
Duncan would widen the 5-4 lead with a pair of runs in the seventh when Blandin drew a two-out walk and then came in to score on an RBI-single from Colton Gareau. Brighton Reid then singled home Gareau and the lead was 7-6.
In the bottom of the sixth, Duncan would get a pair of runners on thanks to a single and a hit batter and then with two outs, an error by the Ladysmith first baseman, on what would have been the third out of the inning, loaded the bases. Duncan’s Colby Whisken then made Ladysmith pay for that mistake, stroking a two-RBI double to up the lead to 9-6. Two walks and another run later, Kevin Ferguson would add a two-RBI single of his own to make the score 12-4 and seemingly put the game out of reach.
That would not be the case though, as the Ladysmith bats suddenly found some life against Duncan reliever Alemayhe Dammam. Dawson Cavey would get things going with an infield single and then advance to second on an error. He would then score when Kikkham also reached on an error.
An out and a hit batter later (Hunter Mitchell), Liam Pakosz would stroke a two-RBI single to score Kikkham and Mitchell to make the score 12-7. A hit batter, a run-scoring wild pitch and another walk later, it was 12-8 Duncan and the end of the night for Duncan reliever Dammam.
Duncan would then go to reliever Jordan Atchison to face Jaden Cochrane. Cochrane would work the count full before lashing an RBI-single to make it 12-9, but on the play, Ladysmith’s Marcus Copp also tried to score, but was gunned down at the plate for the final out of the game, giving Duncan the win.
Duncan’ win was truly a team effort, as nine different players had base hits on the night, with Ryan McMahon leading the way with two. Eight different players also crossed the plate, including two each from McMahon, Blandin, Dammam, and Kneedham.
For Ladysmith, Mitchell would reach base three times on a pair of walks and a hit batter and score twice.
GVBA’s Championship Week continues Tuesday night at Carnarvon Park, as Peninsula takes on Carnarvon in the Pee Wee AA final at 6:30 pm. Wednesday sees the Pee Wee A final, also at Carnarvon (a 6:00 PM start) and the Midget AA final between Gordon Head and Duncan at Lambrick Park (6:30 pm). Finally on Thursday the Bantam AA final goes at Lambrick Park with Layritz taking on Gordon Head. That game is also a 6:30 pm start.