Eagles provide rude welcome to Twins, taking pair of Saturday games
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
July 10, 2021, Victoria, BC – BCPBL teams have finally begun to utilize BC Ferries to make trips across the Strait of Georgia, as the North Shore Twins, UBC Thunder, Whalley Chiefs and White Rock Tritons made the journey Saturday morning to play the the first “cross-Strait” games of the season for the Premier level teams.
The Twins and Thunder headed to Victoria to play double headers against, respectively, the Victoria Eagles and Victoria Mariners, while the Chiefs and Tritons headed to Parksville and Nanaimo respectively for games against the Parksville Royals and Mid-Island Pirates.
On Sunday, the North Delta Blue Jays will make the trek to Victoria to pair up against the Mariners, while the Eagles will host the Thunder. The Chiefs and Tritons swap their Saturday opponents, with the Chiefs heading to Nanaimo and the Tritons heading to Parksville. The Twins will come back home Sunday to host the Abbotsford Cardinals.
The expanded travel for games marks the next step in the gradual return to normal under Step 3 of the Provinces’ COVID Recovery Plan, which will then see all four Island team head to the mainland next weekend for games.
Junior PBL teams began travelling between the Island and the mainland last weekend, with the three Island teams heading east to play lower mainland teams.
Both the Twins (7-3) and Eagles (6-4) came into Saturday off sweeps last weekend, with the Twins winning a tight pair of games against the Langley Blaze 2-0 and 5-3, while the Eagles swept the Pirates 10-8 and 3-0, so anticipation was strong that the teams would play some good baseball Saturday.
They did not disappoint, as the first game turned into a pitching battle between the Eagles Oliver Mabee and the Twins Willem Heilker, that eventually ended in an extra-inning 4-3 walk-off win for the Eagles.
The Twins opened the game by scoring a pair of first inning runs, both on wild pitches, to jump into a quick 2-0 lead. The Eagles would halve that lead in the bottom of the third, as a Tyler Burton sacrifice fly would score Kai Gray who had earlier singled to lead off the inning.
That score would hold until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Eagles would rally to tie the game, as Ryder Green launched a one-out double that scored Dominic Biello, who reached earlier on a one-out single. On the play, the Eagles Gray, who reached on an error, advanced to third, to put the winning run 90 feet away, but Gray was picked off on a failed bunt attempt and a fly out then ended the threat sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Twins would once again find their offence, getting a leadoff walk and single respectively from Ethan Skiffington and Cole Columbus, with Skiffington eventually scoring on a bases-loaded walk by Eagles reliever Sam Jordan to put the Twins up 3-2.
The Eagles would get out of that inning with no further damage and in the bottom of the eighth, Ty Hall stroked a one-out single and was then brought home to tie the game on an RBI-double from Jordan Bond. Bond would then make a key steal of third and then come home with the winning run after a wild pitch from Twins reliever Nathan Clegg went to the backstop.
Sam Jordan got the win for the Eagles in relief of starter Mabee, allowing one hit and one run while striking out three. Mabee went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out nine. Clegg took the loss for the Twins.
Twins starter Heilker went five innings, allowing one run on six hits, striking out four and walking zero. Nick Frers also saw action on the hill for the Twins.
Offensively the Eagles racked up ten hits on the day, with Bond and Ryder Green with two hits each, including a double each, leading the way. The Twins tallied eight hits in the game, with Wiley Waters and Griffin Palfrey having three and two respectively in the losing effort.
In game two on Saturday, the Twins could only manage two hits in the game, both off Eagles starter Ryder Green, and the Eagles would score three runs mid-game to break a 2-2 tie and go on to a 5-3 victory.
The Eagles jumped into a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, thanks to a two-RBI single from Jack Swinton that scored Ty Hall (hit by pitch) and Jordan Bond (single).
Green would hold that lead until the fourth, where the Twins would get to him for a pair, thanks to an RBI single from Ethan Skiffington that scored Wylie Waters and a sacrifice fly RBI from Colin Baxter that scored Skiffington.
The Eagles would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame, thanks to an RBI-double from Dominic Biello and then score two more in the bottom of the fifth on doubles from Jai Berezowski and Ty Burton, with Burton then scoring on a Twins error.
Jacob Wayman, the eventual game winner, was perfect in relief of Green and would shut the Twins down on no hits and no runs over two and a third innings, striking out five and walking one. Hudson Scheres recorded the last three outs to earn the save.
Twins starter Ethan Luckett takes the loss, giving up three runs on three hits in his 3.2 innings of work. Ryan Engle also saw work in relief for the Twins.
Biello led the Eagles with two of their six hits, while Swinton added a pair of RBIs.
With the wins, the Eagles improve their record to 8-4 and their win streak to four. After a 1-3 start to begin the season, the Eagles have now won seven of their last eight. The Twins fall to 7-5 on the year.
In the other Island games Saturday, it was a day of splits, as the Parksville Royals split with Whalley, winning the opener 7-2, while dropping a tough 7-6 decision in game two, the Victoria Mariners split with the Thunder, taking the first game 6-2 and losing game two 7-6 and the Mid-Island Pirates split with the Tritons, winning game one 5-3 and then dropping the second 9-6 in eight innings.
The full set of photos of the Eagles and Twins double header Saturday, by photographer Christian J. Stewart can be found at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p730976620