Fans at Serauxmen Stadium saw some trademark Nanaimo Pirates baseball in the home opener.
The Hub City Paving Pirates won their first game of the B.C. Premier Baseball League season on Saturday, coming back to beat the Victoria Eagles 3-2. The Eagles went on to win the second half of the doubleheader by a 5-2 score.
“It was a very good first game, very entertaining for the fans,” said Zach Diewert, who hit a two-run home run. “The second game wasn’t fully up to standards, but we’re going to work on it. I thought it was a pretty good opening day for us.”
The Eagles held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Diewert got hold of one and lined it off the flagpole in left field to tie the game 2-2.
“I was really just trying to get a good piece on the ball, I wasn’t trying to do too much with it, just trying to hit a ball hard, maybe to the gap and it just worked out,” he said.
Soon after, Alex Rogers delivered the game-winning single, scoring T.J. Mah from second.
“Pirate baseball,” said Doug Rogers, the team’s manager. “We seem to always have a comeback in us somewhere, although you don’t want to live and die by that.”
Devon Geary earned the win on the mound after throwing 1 1/3 relief innings, allowing one hit. Alex Rogers was 3-for-3 and reached base four times.
The comeback win excited the Pirates, but Doug Rogers said his players went into the next game complacently.
“After we got that win we figured we’d just throw our gloves on the field and win the ball game,” the manager said.
Instead, the Pirates were sloppy, making four errors on defence.
“When the game goes awry that way, it burns a little bit,” Doug Rogers said.
Alex Rogers threw a complete-game loss, allowing five hits and four earned runs. Six different Pirates had hits, including Tristan Olsen with a double and Aidan Goodall with an RBI single.
Doug Rogers said his team can’t always rely on late-inning heroics and needs to be focused from the start.
“It’s what happens early in the game, and kids need to recognize that, when the big moments are and we had a couple in the [second] game where we didn’t cash in runs and it cost us.”
Diewert said batters need to step to the plate and be aggressive, wanting to make a difference for their team.
“You want to be up and you want to deliver,” he said.
GAME ON … The Pirates are on the road next Saturday (April 13) and Sunday, facing the Vancouver Cannons and the North Shore Twins, respectively … To read a season preview article on the Nanaimo Pirates, please click here.