Sports

Coal Miners reach provincial semifinal

The Nanaimo Coal Miners showed they could beat the best in the province, but they still had to settle for a third-place finish at provincials.

The Cross & Co. Coal Miners won two of their four games at the Baseball B.C. senior men’s championships in Prince George over the long weekend.

The Miners started the tourney with a 4-2 loss to the Trail Orioles, then hammered the Kelowna Jays 13-4 and shut out the Langley Blaze 8-0 to finish the round-robin portion of the tournament with the No. 1 seed. In Monday’s semifinal, the Blaze, eventual B.C. champions, defeated the Coal Miners 4-1.

The highlight of the tournament came in Sunday’s shutout win over the Blaze. Coal Miners pitcher Darren Kolk threw a no-hitter in the seven-inning contest, striking out six batters. Throwing in 35-degree heat that day, Kolk kept the opposition off-balance with a mix of fastballs and sliders. He also led the charge offensively, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Greg Wallace hit a home run in that game and Jeff Vickers had two RBIs.

In the next day’s rematch, however, offence was tough to come by as the Coal Miners managed five hits total against a Blaze pitcher who had good stuff. Joey Benda suffered the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits in a complete game.

In the first game of the tournament Ben Cairns led Nanaimo, going 3-for-4, and Kolk was 2-for-4. Dale Ballance was the pitcher of record.

In the blowout against the Jays, Benda was the winning pitcher. Devon Franklin and Charlie Strandlund hit home runs, Kolk was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, Ballance hit a single and a double and Cairns also had two hits.

Next summer’s B.C. championships will be held in Victoria.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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