A special event at the ballpark really was a special day for the Nanaimo Pirates.
The exhibition game between the Hub City Paving Pirates and the Victoria HarbourCats on Sunday was everything the teams would have hoped for, with the West Coast League visitors winning a wild one, 10-9.
The biggest baseball crowd of the summer at Serauxmen Stadium got another chance to cheer some Pirates alumni and saw some fireworks and some feel-good moments.
“With all the hard work the guys put in, the game pays you back occasionally, and at an event like this, it paid back a whole lot of guys,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager.
Early on, the game wasn’t shaping up to be a close contest, as HarbourCats outfielder Jake Pries hit a grand slam and his team pushed the score to 5-0 before the Pirates had even come to bat.
But Nanaimo chipped away at the lead and came back to tie the game 8-8 before HarbourCats second baseman P.J. Floyd’s third home run of the game put Victoria up 10-8.
Pirates alumnus Jordan Romine hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to close the gap, but HarbourCats pitcher Alex Rogers got the next three batters out to record the save.
Floyd said the HarbourCats enjoyed the exhibition.
“We came out kind of loose and had some fun with it, but also took it somewhat seriously,” he said.
Floyd also hit a triple to go with his three home runs.
“I was just going up there swinging,” he said. “They gave me good pitches to hit and I took advantage of it.”
For the Pirates, playing against competition like that can be a good thing, said the manager.
“They see, in this one game, the next level. They’re playing against guys that are bigger and stronger than they are and they’re hoping to become those players and go to the schools they go to,” Doug Rogers said. “So it just automatically brings the energy level up and the level of play goes up, too.”
He thanked the HarbourCats for coming to Nanaimo and hopes for more special-event and alumni games in the future.
“It’s good for baseball in this community when people come out and see this,” he said.
In other Pirates news, the team split a doubleheader against the Coquitlam Reds on Friday in Nanaimo, winning 15-14 and then losing 13-2. In the win, Cole Warken was 5-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs and Josh Burgmann was 4-for-4. Shane Rogers had three hits and Shawn Arabsky and Garrett Goodall had two hits each. Sam Baker was the winning pitcher.
GAME ON … The Pirates play their last two B.C. Premier Baseball League regular-season games on the mainland against the Abbotsford Cardinals on Monday (July 20). The Pirates start the playoffs this Saturday (July 25) against a to-be-determined opponent. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) July 20, 2015