Sports

Home openers end in walk-off wins

VIBI Mariners first baseman Steve McKinnon can’t quite stretch to snag a throw to first during Sunday’s game. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
VIBI Mariners first baseman Steve McKinnon can’t quite stretch to snag a throw to first during Sunday’s game.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The VIBI Mariners won on the last pitch of the game twice in one day.

Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute split a four-game series against the University of Calgary Dinos on the weekend at Serauxmen Stadium, but Saturday’s home openers were something special.

The M’s won the first game 4-3 in the 11th inning on Connor Merilees’s walk-off RBI single. In the second game of the doubleheader, the home team erased a 5-2 deficit, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth including Steve McKinnon’s two-RBI walk-off single.

“You’ve got to have positive thoughts, you’ve got to stick with the plan, you’ve got to rely that things will work out,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager. “As a group, I thought they did a good job staying positive and expecting success when it’s easy to doubt yourself.”

In three of the games on the weekend, the Mariners amassed 10 or more hits.

“Some of our guys were able to get themselves into situations to get their pitch, get what they’re looking for and put a good swing on it when they get it,” the manager said.

In the first game, Jeremy Harasymchuk went 4-for-5 at the plate and Cody Pendergast was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Austin Penner earned the win in relief of Connor Russell, who allowed two earned runs and four hits while striking out eight batters over 10 innings.

The second game, Pendergast was 4-for-4 with two walks and two RBIs and Gobind Sall and Tyson Dyck both had two hits. Harasymchuk threw a complete game for the win, allowing two earned runs.

Sunday’s doubleheader saw the M’s lose 9-2 and 6-5 to the Dinos. In the second game, Mitch Hawkins went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and Dallas Monk, Pendergast and Sall all had two-hit games.

GAME ON … VIBI hosts the Okanagan Coyotes on Saturday (April 12) at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and again Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium. Admission is $2.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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