The 2021 Zack Downey Tournament Premier champion Victoria Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

With his hair flying, the Eagle’s Josh Burrows slides home with the first run of the game in the championship final on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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 Eagles Noah Couch had a pair of hits against the Grizzlies Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

In this traffic jam at second base the Eagles Drew Abercrombie (left) and Carson Kay (centre) managed to secure a force out on Grizzlies baserunner Ethan Fox (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

The Grizzlies Ethan Merk scampers to first with one of Saskatchewan’s four hits against the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

Saskatchewan catcher Ethan Fox makes a play in the final game against the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

The Eagles Oliver Mabee was effective in the Eagles semi-final win over Parksville (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

The Saskatchewan Grizzlies fought their way into Sunday’s final after a 10-9 win over the Tide in the semi-finals, as well as a one-run and extra-inning win in the round robin (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

Noah Newman (11 right) and his Grizzlies teammates scored early and often against the Golden Tide in Sunday’s first semi-final and then held on for a 10-9 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

The Eagles’ Drew Abercrombie had a busy game at shortstop in Sunday’s final, fielding no less than eight chances without error (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

Eagles starter Owen Luchies held the Grizzlies to just three hits in his four innings of work in the Zack Downey final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

They did manage another hit off reliever Spencer McGhie, but that would be all as the Eagles cruised to the 7-0 win.

The Eagles Jack Swinton had a double, single and RBI against the Grizzlies in the final on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

Saskatchewan pitcher Carson Fox was effective in relief against the Eagles Sunday, holding them to two runs on four hits over 3.1 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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.

Jacob Wayman had two hits, a sacrifice fly and a run scored for the Eagles in the final against the Grizzlies (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For the Grizzlies, Nathan Houston and Noah Newman, both with doubles, and Ethan Merk and Ethan Fox had the only hits on the day.

Eagles reliever Spence McGhie was solid in his two innings of relief in the final against Saskatchewan (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Eagle’s Jacob Wayman was named the MVP of the tournament.

The Eagles Jacob Wayman (tournament MVP) (left) and Head Coach Dave Auger (right) with the Zack Downey Memorial trophy (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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

All photos from the Zack Downey Memorial Tournament from Christian J. Stewart will ultimately be posted at