Sports

Pirates pick up pace with four wins

Whalley Chiefs baserunner Hayden Malcolm, left, is safe at first as Nanaimo Pirates pitcher Justin Clarkson, middle, can’t snag a throw from first baseman Chris Faber. The Pirates swept the weekend’s B.C. Premier Baseball League action, winning four straight home games. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Whalley Chiefs baserunner Hayden Malcolm, left, is safe at first as Nanaimo Pirates pitcher Justin Clarkson, middle, can’t snag a throw from first baseman Chris Faber. The Pirates swept the weekend’s B.C. Premier Baseball League action, winning four straight home games.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Last year’s pennant winners showed they intend to be in the race again this season.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates (5-1) won all four of their games on the weekend at Serauxmen Stadium.

Nanaimo defeated the Victoria Eagles on Saturday by scores of 8-2 and 3-1, then beat the Whalley Chiefs 11-1 and 2-1 the next day.

After Sunday’s mercy-rule-shortened victory, the Pirates said they might have come out a little cocky in the second half of the doubleheader against the Chiefs.

“It was a struggle to get through it, but not every game is going to be 11-1 and casual,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “There’s going to be battles.”

The game was tied 1-1 from the second inning to the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, the Pirates strung together a walk, a passed ball, a sacrifice bunt and then a game-winning sac fly from Braeden Mousseau.

“We didn’t execute the way we wanted to in some situations, but we came through in the clutch and that’s what matters,” said Mousseau.

The manager liked how the Pirates executed the game plan in that final inning.

“You do that every inning, you’d win 7-0 and how nice would that be?” Rogers asked.

Now the goal for the Pirates will be to try to take some of the drama out of those kind of games.

“If we can get the execution done in the early innings, the rest of the game we’ll just be rolling through,” said Colby Morgan, Pirates veteran.

The weekend started with some fireworks as the Pirates blasted off against the Victoria Eagles. Brendan McCarthy hit a home run, a double and supplied two RBIs in the win and Chris Faber had three hits including a two-RBI double. Colby Morgan had two hits and an RBI and Bryan Odgers hit a single and a double. Luke Skingle was the winning pitcher, striking out five batters and allowing four hits in a complete game.

The second game McCarthy again paced the offence with a single, double and an RBI. Griffin Andreychuk also doubled and Morgan threw a complete game for the win.

Sunday’s blowout saw contributions from up and down the lineup. Morgan was 2-for-2 at the plate with three runs scored, McCarthy was 2-for-2 with two walks and Andreychuk also had two hits. Justin Clarkson tripled, Odgers doubled and Ben Dunbar walked three times. Pitcher Alex Rogers got the ‘W’ after allowing two hits over six innings.

In the weekend finale, Braeden Mousseau also had a hit and a walk to go with his sac fly. Ryan Smith and Dunbar each reached base twice. Clarkson threw a complete game, striking out nine batters.

Mousseau said sweeping four games is a confidence-builder.

“It’s good that we can prove to ourselves that we can do that and we’re looking forward to doing that for the rest of the year,” he said.

GAME ON … The Pirates play two games this coming weekend, both on the road Saturday (April 21) at Abbotsford. Next home action for the premier Pirates is April 28-29, when the team hosts doubleheaders against the White Rock Tritons and North Shore Twins, respectively.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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