Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
July 4, 2021, Victoria, BC – With a move to Stage 3 of the Provincial Re-Start plan by the Province, the BC Premier Baseball League eased some of their previous travel restrictions this past weekend, with teams beginning to move further afield to play one another for league play.
For the Victoria Mariners, who spent all of June playing six games against their crosstown rival Victoria Eagles, it was a welcome relief, as they finally got to see some different opposition, traveling north on the Island on Saturday to Nanaimo, where they dropped a pair of close games to the Mid-Island Pirates, and then returning home to Layritz Park in Victoria Sunday, where they swept a pair of games from the Parksville Royals by scores of 3-1 and 15-12.
Similarly, the Eagles headed north Saturday where they split a pair of games with the Royals, and then stayed in Nanaimo Sunday where they swept a pair from the Mid-Island Pirates.
All four Island teams will finally face some lower mainland competition next weekend, as the Mariners will host the UBC Thunder for a pair on Saturday and then host the North Delta Blue Jays on Sunday. The Mariners make their first trip across the water on the 17th, when they travel to White Rock for a pair with the Tritons.
The Eagles will host the North Shore Twins on Saturday and then the Thunder on Sunday, while the Whalley Chiefs and White Rock Tritons head to the Island both days next weekend to play double headers respectively against the Royals and Pirates. The Eagles, Pirates and Royals also make their first trips to the lower mainland on the July 17-18 weekend.
In game one at Layritz Park Sunday, the Mariners took an early 2-0 lead on the Royals, scored another in the second and coasted to a quickly played 3-1 win.
Mariner runs came courtesy of an RBI single from Griffin Gladych and a sacrifice fly RBI from Taine Clague in the first inning and an RBI single from Myles Chamberlain in the second, scoring Tristan Bolger who had walked.
Parksville’s lone run came in the second inning when Ryan Deagle led off the inning with a hit, eventually coming in to score on a Mariner’s error.
Mariners’ starting pitcher Ben Havelock had a strong outing, allowing just four hits and the one Royals run while striking out three and walking just one in his six innings of work. Connor Melanson pitched the seventh to earn the save.
Ethan Dean took the tough loss for the Royals. The lefty allowed just two hits and three runs over five innings, striking out eight. Trevor Carter pitched the sixth, retiring the side in order with one strikeout.
Gladych and Corrin Chapeskie had the only hits for the Mariners, while Ryan Deagle, Anson McGorman, Breydan Riecker, Trevor Nicoll, and Keitaro Adachi each managed one for the Royals in the losing effort.
In the second game Sunday, it appeared early on that the Mariners were going to cruise to a lopsided win, jumping out to an 8-2 lead after two innings, but the gritty Royals continued to battle, eventually tying the game 9-9 in the fourth, before the Mariners pulled ahead to eventually pull out the 15-12 win.
The Mariners early lead came at the expense of Royals starter Breydan Riecker who could only get through two-thirds of an inning, allowing six runs on three hits, striking out one and walking one.
The Royals would chip their way back into the game in the third, when, trailing 8-2, they would get to Mariners starter Zach Byers for three more, thanks in part to RBI singles from Trevor Nicoll and Thomas Plant, then, after the Mariners scored in the bottom of the frame, the Royals would score four more in the top of the fourth to tie the game 9-9.
That would be as close as they would get however, as the Mariners took the lead for good with three runs in their half of the fourth, then added one in the fifth and two more in the sixth for insurance to eventually take the 15-12 win.
Jaxon Smith-Peterson would get the win in relief for the Mariners, pitching two and a third innings, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out two and walking none. Connor Melanson pitched the seventh to record his second save of the day.
Trevor Carter took the loss for Parksville. The righthander lasted one inning, allowing four hits and three runs while walking one.
The Mariners 15 runs came on a total of 12 hits, with Sam Shaw leading the way with three, including a single, double and triple. He also had a walk, an RBI and three runs scored. Corrin Chapeskie also had three hits, including a triple, while Dylan Graw had a pair of hits including a single and triple.
The Royals 12 runs came on 12 hits, with Trevor Nicoll, Liam McNamee, and Max Kolopenuk, all managing multiple hits for the Royals. Nicoll also led the way, scoring three runs for the Royals in the losing effort.
The full set of photos from both games between the Mariners and Royals can be found at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p759333911