Sports

No-hitter highlights Pirates' win streak

Not only did the Nanaimo Pirates win a bunch more ball games, they were unhittable.

The Hub City Paving Pirates won four of six on the road the past few days, capped off by win Sunday against the Abbotsford Cardinals in which pitcher Robert Busch threw a no-hitter.

The Pirates split with the Victoria Eagles on Thursday, winning 12-1 and losing 2-1, then split with the North Shore Twins on Friday, losing 4-3 and winning 5-0. On Sunday, the Pirates swept the Cards 4-2 and 3-0.

“We’ve just been putting everything together – timely hitting, defence and pitching,” Busch said. “All three of those things together you’re bound to compete in every game.”

Busch’s no-no started inauspiciously, as he beaned the first batter he faced and walked the second, but he got out of trouble. His fastball and curveball were both working well, and as the game went along, he got some help from his defence, especially from second baseman Shawn Arabsky who made a couple of key plays.

Then with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Chris Vlaj set up for a curve, exactly what Busch wanted to throw in that situation.

“Best pitch of the day,” he said. “I ended up backwards striking out the kid, froze him on a curveball, so that was the game. I was pretty pumped about that.”

It took awhile for all the players and coaches to clue in about the no-hitter.

“After that one rough inning we all just assumed I had a hit, so no one really knew after the game and they saw me fist pumping on the mound,” Busch said.

The achievement should help the right-hander moving forward.

"It's just a stepping stone, to know what I can do when I can throw strikes and pitch well, because I've been shaky this season," Busch said. "I needed a good start, I just never thought that good start would be a no-hitter."

He finished with six strikeouts and two walks. Offence came from Aaron Page, who had a double and two RBIs, and Josh Burgmann and Arabsky who had two hits each.

In the early game, Tom Negrin had a single, double and two RBIs, Burgmann and North Rainey had two hits apiece and Sam Baker earned the ‘W’ on the mound.

Thursday's action at Victoria was highlighted by Zach Diewert's home run in the blowout win. The slugger drove in three RBIs, North Rainey was 3-for-3 at the plate, Garrett Goodall had a triple and two RBIs, Tristan Olsen had two hits and Burgmann earned the pitching win, giving up four hits.

In the close loss in North Vancouver on Friday, seven different Pirates hit safely. In the rematch, Goodall threw a complete-game shutout win and Diewert had a triple and three RBIs.

GAME ON … The Pirates host the Parksville Royals on Wednesday (July 9) at 6 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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