Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
June 18, 2021, Victoria, BC – After a cancelled 2020 season and a delay in beginning the 2021 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Junior Premier Baseball League (BCJPBL) finally started to play some games with meaning this week, with action taking place both on the mainland and on Vancouver Island.
On the Island, it was the Victoria Junior Eagles and Victoria Junior Mariners that got things underway on Thursday evening, with the Mariners coming away with a 9-6 win at Lambrick Park in Victoria.
The two teams would meet again Friday night at Henderson Park, where the home Mariners would win again, this time by a 8-3 score.
On the mainland, on Wednesday, three Junior circuit games took place, with White Rock defeating North Delta 13-3, North Shore defeating UBC 4-2 and Coquitlam defeating Whalley 5-3. In Thursday mainland action, Abbotsford defeated Langley 5-4.
Junior action will continue over the weekend with 12 more games scheduled to take place, including the Junior Pirates venturing down to Victoria to take on both the Eagles on Saturday and then the Mariners on Sunday.
Both the Junior PBL and Premier league were able to return to play this week, thanks to the Province moving to Phase 2 of their restart plan. This also means that fans can now be in attendance at games (up to 50) and that players no longer have to worry about social distancing while in the dugouts.
The move has made everyone very happy, with both Junior Mariner’s Head Coach Scott Smith – now entering his 12th year at the helm of the M’s – and Eagles Head Coach Jordan Will, expressing, “that it felt really nice to be playing real games again.”
The Eagles and Mariners, along with the Junior Mariners, will get to know one another very quickly this season, as one other aspect of the re-start, is that teams from the Island will not travel to the mainland until July and vice versa for teams from the mainland.
As such, for example, counting their two games this week, the Eagles and Mariners will play each other four times in the month, with both teams also playing the Pirates four times in the month.
In Friday’s action between the Eagles and Mariners, the teams were locked in a 1-1 tie through the third, as Eagles starter Brandon Cain (8) and Mariner’s starter Ben Sargent (20) were effective early.
After going up 2-1 in the bottom of the third, the Mariners would break it open in the fourth with four more runs, to lead 6-1. Most of that damage would come off Eagle’s reliever Risto Ringma.
The Eagle’s would get a pair of runs back in the fifth, thanks to some hustle on the bases by Parker Husu, but that is as close as they would come, as the Mariners would get two insurance runs in the top of the seventh to close out the 8-3 win.
Full set of images from this game can be found at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p758099436