Premier, Junior and Bantam teams all win titles in their respective divisions.
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
September 12, 2021, Victoria, BC – The Victoria Eagles Premier team defeated the Saskatchewan Grizzlies 7-0 Sunday afternoon to capture the Premier title at the Zack Downey Memorial Baseball Tournament being held at Layritz Park in Victoria.
The win capped a great day for the Eagles organization, as the Junior Premier and Bantam Premier teams also took the title games in their respective divisions, with all three teams going a combined 15-1 at the tournament.
The win for the Premier Eagles also continues the success they have had so far in 2021, where they recently finished second in the BCPBL Provincial Tournament.
The tournament, now in its eighth year, was hosted by the Victoria Mariners, and honors the life of Zack Downey, a former Mariners player, who lost his valiant battle with cancer in May of 2014. Normally played with just the Premier level teams, this was the first season the tournament was expanded to feature Junior and Bantam teams as well.
At the Downey tournament, the Eagles went 3-0 in the round robin portion of the tournament, including a 7-2 win over the college level Victoria Golden Tide and then Sunday morning, defeated the Parksville Royals 7-3 to earn their spot in the finals.
Against Parksville, the Eagles broke open a close 2-1 game with a five run fourth inning to put the game away, giving starter Oliver Mabee (four innings) and closer Oliver Taylor (two innings) all the room they would need.
In the final, the Eagles were facing a Saskatchewan Grizzlies team that had to scrap tooth and nail to get there. They opened the tournament with a tough 8-1 loss to the Golden Tide and then rebounded for a tight 4-3 win over the host Victoria Mariners and then an extra inning 6-2 win over the Royals on Saturday.
That set them up for a re-match with the Golden Tide in the first semi-final of the day Sunday, and things looked good very early as the Grizzlies jumped into a 3-0 lead, which they extended to 10-1 after four innings of play.
The Golden Tide then woke up and scored four runs in the fifth and another four runs in the bottom of the sixth, leaving the tying run on base, as the Grizzlies secured the final out and hung on for the nail-biting 10-9 win.
That effort seemed to drain the Grizzlies though, and in the final, they could only muster three scattered hits off Eagles starter Owen Luchies and when the Eagles scored five runs in the second and another two runs in the third, it was all but over for the Regina based squad.
They did manage another hit off reliever Spencer McGhie, but that would be all as the Eagles cruised to the 7-0 win.
Leading the way for the Eagles was Drew Abercrombie who had a double and four RBIs at the plate, and defensively had no less than eight chances at shortstop that were all fielded flawlessly.
Jack Swinton also had another strong game offensively with a double, single and RBI, and Jacob Wayman had a pair of hits a sacrifice fly and a run scored. Josh Burrows also added a double and a run scored, Noah Couch had two singles and a run scored, and Carson Kay crossed the plate twice in the winning effort.
For the Grizzlies, Nathan Houston and Noah Newman, both with doubles, and Ethan Merk and Ethan Fox had the only hits on the day.
The Eagle’s Jacob Wayman was named the MVP of the tournament.
The Zack Downey Tournament Silent Auction is also a big part of the annual event and this year’s auction will be up and live until September 16th. There are plenty of great items to bid on and all proceeds will go to the Zack Downey Foundation. The auction website is https://www.32auctions.com/ZackDowney2021
All photos from the Zack Downey Memorial Tournament from Christian J. Stewart will ultimately be posted at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/f925315517