19-Game losing streak snapped
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
August 8, 2021, Victoria, BC – They say that good things come to those that wait and the Victoria Junior Premier Eagles finally decided that they had waited long enough, as they swept a pair of games Sunday from the Abbotsford Cardinals to earn their first wins in exactly six weeks.
The Eagles’ one and only win prior to that came on June 27th when they beat the Mid-Island Pirates 11-6. Since then, the Eagles have lost 19 straight, until their 7-3 and 10-7 wins Sunday put that ugly streak to rest.
The wins give the Eagles some renewed hope heading into the final two weeks of the season and ultimately into the playoffs, where under this year’s unusual playoff format, every team, no matter their record, has a shot to reach the semi-finals simply by winning their playoff pool.
For the Eagles, this will be a tough task, as this will mean having to emerge out of a pool that includes themselves, the White Rock Tritons and the UBC Thunder, who came into Lambrick Park Saturday and swept the Eagles 6-3 and 8-3 and who, after splitting with the Mariners on Sunday, have a 21-9 record overall and lead the regular season standings. The Thunder also swept the Eagles at UBC back on July 11.
Similarly, the Tritons are also 4-0 against the Eagles so far this season.
For the Eagles, what Sunday hopefully showed them is that all it takes is one or two good innings to win a game and it is that attitude that could see them be spoilers once it comes to playoffs.
They have battled and competed hard in all their games, only being truly out of games on two occasions, a 10-0 and 16-7 loss that came in consecutive games and if they can show the come-from-behind kind of pluck they did against Abby on Sunday, who knows what can happen.
In game one Sunday, it was that pluck that saw the Eagles overcome a 2-0 Cardinals lead by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third inning en route to the 7-3 win.
Those five runs were keyed in part by RBI singles from Carson Kay and Cohen Muir and a sacrifice fly from Drew Abercrombie. A Kay RBI single in the bottom of the fourth and a Risto Ringma run in the bottom of the sixth added important insurance runs to the mix.
Josh Gladstone got the win on the mound for the Eagles, pitching a strong game and surrendering the three Abbotsford runs on three hits over four and two-thirds innings, striking out six. Owen Taylor threw two and a third innings in relief out of the bullpen, recording the last seven outs to earn the save.
In game two Sunday, the Eagles once again trailed the Cardinals 3-1 early, but scored three in the bottom of the fourth and five in the bottom of the fifth to pull away en route to the 10-7 win.
The big fifth inning was started with a Drew Abercrombie triple. He then came into score on a Jack Finn single and four batters later the Eagles tied the score on an Owen Taylor fielder’s choice. Kieran Morely then drew a bases loaded walk to put the Eagles ahead for good and a Cohen Muir single and Parker Husu sacrifice fly increased that lead to 9-6 before the inning was over.
The Cardinals battled back to score a run in the top of the sixth and looked to have pushed their eighth run across the plate when Micah Barker launched a two out double that scored Jimmy Boulanger. On the same play David Krahn, who walked, also attempted to score, diving around the tag by Eagles catcher Owen Taylor and appearing to be safe, getting his hand on the plate, as Taylor never had control of the ball.
Above Sequence: Cardinals baserunner David Krahn leaps over Eagles catcher Owen Taylor to apparently score a run during game two. Krahn was eventually ruled out for not touching the plate (Photos: Christian J. Stewart)
However the home plate umpire apparently ruled that Krahn never touched the plate and when Eagle’s pitcher Brandon Cain picked up the ball and tagged the celebrating Krahn, he was called out and the Eagles escaped the inning without any more damage.
The controversial call brought Cardinals head coach Coleton Besse out of the dugout to argue and he was subsequently ejected from the game for his efforts.
After the excitement was over, the teams would exchange runs in the sixth, but Cain would shut the door in the seventh, preserving the 10-7 win.
Cain would get the win in relief of Eagles starter Jacob Thompson, giving up one earned run on five hits in his three innings of work.
For the Cardinals, the loss negates a 13-hit performance that was led by Krahn who had a double and two singles and scored three of the Cardinals runs. Boulanger, Connor Martin and Nick Magnum also had two hits each in the losing effort.
The losses for the Cardinals also marked the end of a tough Island visit this weekend, as they also lost a pair of tough games to the Mid-Island Pirates on Saturday by scores of 9-2 and 2-1, dropping their overall record to 9-20.
Like the Eagles, they will hope to play the role of spoiler in their playoff pool, which will see them face the Coquitlam Reds, Mid-Island Pirates and North Delta Blue Jays.
The full set of photos from the Junior Eagles and Junior Cardinals game will be available at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p613432143