Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
July 18, 2021, Victoria, BC – After losing nine of their first 12 games to start the 2021 season, the North Delta Junior Blue Jays have righted the ship and have now won seven of their last eight games, including a two game sweep Saturday in Victoria of the Victoria Eagles and a split Sunday with the Victoria Mariners.
The Jays were kept from an Island sweep in the very last inning Sunday when the Mariners scored three in the bottom of the seventh to escape with a 6-5 win and halt the Jays winning streak at seven.
North Delta had won the earlier game Sunday 2-0 thanks to a complete game shut-out gem by pitcher Justin Zabudsky who allowed just seven hits, striking out six and walking one.
Of the Junior Jays nine losses to start the season, six of those came to the White Rock Tritons, their opponents for the first eight games of the year thanks to COVID travel restrictions that limited play between teams.
They then split a pair with the Abbotsford Cardinals and lost a pair to the Junior Thunder, before then escaping with a 2-1 win over the Langley Blaze in Langley on July 8.
That seemed to spark the young Jays who then went on a roll, sweeping a pair from the visiting Eagles on July 10th and then beating the Blaze again 9-7 on July 14th.
On Saturday, the Jays then headed to Victoria to visit the Eagles, coming away with a 6-3 win in game one and then surviving a late Eagles rally in game two to escape with a 13-12 win.
In that first game Saturday, the Eagles took an early 2-1 lead in the first inning when Risto Ringma singled on a 1-1 count, scoring Jack Finn who had earlier doubled.
The Jays took the lead for good with three runs in the third inning thanks to RBI doubles from Nate Colina and Malakai Debreuil and an RBI single from William Anderson.
The Jays would pad that lead with two more in the fourth and despite a run from the Eagles in the bottom of the sixth, the Jays would prevail with the three-run victory.
Tyson O’Neil pitched North Delta victory, going five innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out three. Debreuil threw two innings in relief out of the bullpen, recording the last six outs to earn the save.
Eagles starter Colton Bobroske took the loss, surrendering four runs on six hits over two and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking none.
Cohen Muir went 2-for-4 at the plate, including a double, to lead the Eagles offence, with Ringma, Finn, Drew Abercrombie and Wyatt MacDonald getting the other four hits.
North Delta had ten hits in the game, with Colina leading the way with three, while Anderson and Ethan Tait each with a pair. Colina, Debreuil and Anderson also had two RBI each.
In game two Saturday, the Jays looked like they were going to run away with things early, building a 10-2 lead mid-way through the third inning and holding a 13-6 lead heading into the Eagles final at bat.
The scrappy Eagles would find a way to keep the game going, scoring six to make it 13-12 with the bases loaded before pitcher Matt Fisher induced a ground out to end the game and give the Jays the win.
The Jays earned their runs on 12 hits in the game with Anderson leading the way with three including a double, as well as adding four RBI. Colina, Debreuil and Kyle Hill also contributed a pair of hits each.
For the Eagles, Muir once again had a solid game with three hits, including a double, and an RBI. Parker Husu had a pair of hits and pair of walks, while Noah Couch had a double and run scored in the losing effort.
Justin Zabudsky started the game for the Jays. The pitcher went two innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out one. Timothy Fuller got the win in relief, allowed one hit and two runs over two innings. Ethan Tait, Matt Fischer, and Brady MacDonald all put in work in relief out of the bullpen. Fischer recorded the last two outs to earn the save.
Jack Finn started the game for the Eagles, going one and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on six hits and striking out two. Josh Gladstone, Kieran Morely, Owen Taylor and Brandon Cain all saw relief work out of the bullpen.
The Junior Jays will look to keep their hot streak going as they head home for four games next weekend, hosting the Junior Thunder for a pair on Saturday and then the Junior Blaze for another pair on Sunday.
Start time for both double headers is 11:00 am.
The full set of images from the Jays sweep over the Eagles on Saturday can be found at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p678247513