By Martin Winstanley
April 6, 2018, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Thursday, April 5, 2018 was a momentous day for two former Victoria Eagles players, Nick Pivetta and Kobe Morris. Pivetta made his first career MLB home opening day start, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins, while Crowder College’s Morris – a sophmore 3B/SS, committed to play the 2018-2019 season with NCAA Division 1 SEC powerhouse, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In his outing, Pivetta threw 97 pitches over 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Phillies, allowing just four hits. He struck out nine and got 15 swings-and-misses and 23 called strikes, setting a career high. He received a standing ovation from the appreciative Phillies fans as he walked off the field in the sixth inning, later earning the win, his first of the 2018 season.
For Morris, his decision to head to Crowder College after being overlooked by other schools coming out of high school, is now paying off with his commitment to Alabama. After putting together an impressive Freshman campaign in which he hit .384 with 15 doubles, three triples and nine home rums, Morris started the 2018 season at an even higher clip and is currently hitting .430 with 13 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. He is now the 4th Division 1 NCAA commit from the Roughriders this season
Pivetta’s journey to the major leagues began in Victoria, BC, where he was born in 1993. The young Pivetta started his baseball career at Layritz Little League, playing there until 12 years of age. In 2006, he began playing in the Greater Victoria Baseball Association program and was a member of the team that hosted the 2006 Baseball Canada PeeWee National Championship. He helped lead the team to the finals, where they fell short to a strong Quebec team. Nick earned his first National medal at that tournament, the first of many national medals to come.
After PeeWee, Nick played on the 2007 Bantam AAA Bears and the 2008 Bantam AAA Vipers. His Bantam career ended with many accolades – a 2008 BC Summer Games Gold Medal and a 2008 BC Provincial Championship. That year, Nick’s pitching had dominated the BC Bantam AAA league and helped lead the Bantam AAA Vipers to a National Championship in Quebec, avenging his PeeWee team’s loss in 2006.
In 2010, Nick joined the inaugural season of the GVBA’s Premier Eagles in the BC Premier Baseball League. He played for the Victoria Eagles for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. During those years, he represented the Eagles twice on Team BC, earning gold medals at the Canada Cup in both appearances. He started twice for Team BC at the Canada Cup and won both games. On top of this, Nick was a member of the Junior National Canadian Team for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Upon graduating from the Victoria Premier Eagles in 2011, Nick was awarded a scholarship to play baseball at New Mexico Junior College. A pitching standout in his two years at New Mexico, Nick was poised to join the NCAA Division 1 New Mexico State Aggies. However, Major League Baseball had other plans for Nick and after his 2013 season and a brief summer stint with his hometown Victoria HarbourCats, where he became their first opening day pitcher in team history, he was drafted in the 4th Round by the Washington Nationals. In 2015, the Nationals traded Pivetta to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon. On April 30, 2017, Nick Pivetta made his MLB debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Like Pivetta, Kobe Morris was born in Victoria, BC, and played baseball in the Victoria Eagles Baseball program. As a thirteen-year-old Bantam AAA Eagle, Kobe’s hard work and extra practice time were motivated by a dream of one day playing NCAA Division 1 baseball. As he progressed through the Eagles Baseball program, his coaches provided the opportunity for the hard-working teenager to sharpen his skills in preparation for college baseball.
And he certainly has competed. Kobe enjoyed a stellar freshman season at Crowder College hitting .384 with 15 doubles, 3 triples and 9 HR’s. The Roughriders qualified for the 2017 JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado and Kobe was named to the all-tournament team. The 2018 season has seen an even brighter performance from the sophomore for the Roughriders. In a 2-1 win over rival Seminole State College, Kobe crushed two solo home runs to provide all the Roughrider offence for the win. Currently hitting .430 with 13 doubles, 2 triple, 7 home runs, 7 stolen bases, 47 rbi’s, .551 OBP, and .744 slugging, Morris has progressed from being a supporting cast member on the best offense in Crowder history to being the key player on a 2018 team poised to break even more Roughrider records.
The Head Coach of the Roughriders, Travis Lallemand, is not short on praise for Kobe’s contributions to his squad’s 28-6 record, “Kobe is one of the best players in the country and has been playing like it all year. He is a versatile player and has been playing both short and third. He brings a lot to the table in team leadership and has been a great example for our freshman players.”
The years of hard work and dedication paid off on April 5th when Kobe’s dream to play ball for a NCAA Division 1 program was realized with the announcement that he had committed to play the 2018-2019 season with the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, a baseball powerhouse playing in the Western Division of the SEC. The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in all-time wins with over 2,500 victories and trails only LSU for the most SEC regular season titles (13) and tournament championships (7). The Crimson Tide have qualified for the NCAA World Series five times and have sent more than sixty players to the major leagues, the most in the SEC.
Nick Pivetta and Kobe Morris started their baseball careers in small town Victoria, British Columbia as young ballplayers with big dreams. Martin Winstanley, Chairman of the Victoria Eagles, praises the way they have succeeded, “From the start, Nick and Kobe have pursued their dreams with hard work, perseverance, and character. The Victoria Eagles are immensely proud of what they have already achieved in their baseball careers. I’m confident there is a lot more success in store for these two Eagles.”