Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
May 6, 2018, Abbotsford, BC – The Abbotsford Cardinals soared to the top of the BC Premier Baseball League standings on Sunday as they completed a four-game, two-day sweep of the Okanagan A’s at DelAir Park in Abbotsford.
The four wins improve the Cardinals record to an impressive 9-1 to begin the 2018 season and puts them in a virtual tie for first with the 11-3 Parksville Royals, but with four games in hand over the Royals. The Langley Blaze, winners of three games this past weekend (see related article) are also now in the mix, just 1.5 games back.
The Cardinal’s four wins over the A’s this weekend all had something different to them and included a 3-0 shut-out in game one Saturday, a 5-3 win in game two Saturday night, that was suspended after six innings and had to be completed Sunday morning because the lights at DelAir Field would not come on, an extra innings 4-3 walk-off thriller in game one Sunday and a 10-3 rout to wrap the series up Sunday afternoon.
In the first game of the series Saturday, Abbotsford starter Nick Graham would limit the A’s to just four hits over his five innings of work to get the win, with Kevin Kim one-hitting the A’s in the final two innings to get the save.
The Cardinals would get all the runs they needed in the second inning, scoring a pair of runs thanks to an RBI triple from Kayden Beauregard, who would then come in to score on a wild pitch.
An RBI single by Kieren Finn scored Shea Wutke (single) in the bottom of the sixth for insurance and Kim retired the side in the seventh to close out the 3-0 win.
In game two Saturday, the A’s would jump out to a 3-0 lead after four, but then watch as the Cardinals scored two in the fifth, two in the sixth and one more in the top of the seventh to come away with the 5-3 win.
Chase Batchelor helped the A’s to their lead when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second and then knocked in another run, the A’s third, with a single in the fourth.
The Cardinals fought back with a two-RBI single from Romero Snow in the fifth and then a two-run home run from Dylan Ohlsen in the sixth. An RBI double from Kayden Beauregard in the seventh scored Carlin Dick (walk) to give the Cardinals some insurance.
Ryan Burton would get the win in relief of Brett Jackson for the Cardinals, while Kim would earn his second save of the day, closing out the seventh.
In game one Sunday, the A’s took a 1-0 lead when Luigi Russo wold be hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and eventually come in to score on a sacrifice fly by Owne Alstad.
A Kayden Beauregard two-run home run off A’s starter Jackson Borne put the Cardinals up 2-1 in the third, but a pair of runs by the A’s in the top of the sixth would knock Cardinal’s starter Travis McDougall out of the game and give the A’s back their one-run lead.
That would be short-lived, as in the bottom of the sixth, Dylan Ohlsen would reach on a fielder’s choice, be moved to third on a Brett Bass double and then score on a Jayson Smith groundout to tie the game 3-3.
Cardinal’s reliever Sasha Kamenjasevic and the A’s Borne, with a gutsy 7.1 innings of work on the day, then took the game into the bottom of the eighth and after an out, the A’s Borne was relieved by Ethan Huizinga, who promptly hit the Cardinal’s Taisei Yahiro with a pitch. Two pitches later, Beauregard laced a double down the right field line (his second hit and third RBI of the game) to score Yahiro and give the Cards the exciting win.
In the four game finale on Sunday, the Cardinal’s starter Taisei Yahiro would keep the A’s in check, holding them to just one run – an Alex Wright solo home run in the fourth – on four hits over his five innings of work, striking out seven in the process.
That would allow the Cardinals offence to go to work and they would score two in the first and three each in each of the fourth and fifth innings to spot Yahiro a 8-1 lead after five.
The Cards would add two more in the sixth and while the A’s would match that with a pair of runs on a Kade Kozak two-RBI double in the bottom of the seventh, it would not be nearly enough as reliever Derrick Powell shut the door and closed out the sweep of the four game set.
For the Cardinals, Dylan Ohlsen was a monster offensively, with three-hits, including a two-run homer – his second of the weekend – in the sixth and two RBI. Liam Knight and Mike Fitzsimmons also had two-hit games for the Cards, while Knight, Brett Bass and Massimo Peranio also contributed to RBI to the winning cause.
Yahiro (2-0) gets the win, while A’s starter Keaton Mandryk (0-1) is tagged with the loss.
The Cardinals will now get ready for a key matchup with the Langley Blaze on Thursday night at McLeod Park and then travel to Victoria on the weekend for a pair of games with the Eagles on Saturday and a pair with the Mariners on Sunday.
The now 5-11 A’s head back home to entertain the White Rock Tritons for a four-game set on Saturday and Sunday May 12-13.