Big wins brighten VIBI’s season

Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Baseball Institute won two of its four games against the Okanagan Coyotes on the weekend at Serauxmen Stadium.

VIBI Mariners batter Tim Scarr gets a hit during a game against the Okanagan Coyotes on Sunday at Serauxmen Stadium.

VIBI Mariners batter Tim Scarr gets a hit during a game against the Okanagan Coyotes on Sunday at Serauxmen Stadium.

The VIBI Mariners had one fine day at the ballpark, but couldn’t build on it.

Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute won two of its four games against the Okanagan Coyotes on the weekend at Serauxmen Stadium. The M’s dominated the visitors on Saturday, winning 10-0 and then 11-2, but the Coyotes were in control on Sunday, winning 5-0 and 11-2.

“[Saturday] we were definitely playing baseball that we expect to play,” said Cody Andreychuk, M’s left fielder. “[Sunday] we didn’t have as much focus as we should have and it didn’t work out for us.”

One of the highlights of the weekend was the series opener, in which Luke Hawkins threw a mercy-rule-shortened, complete-game shutout. He gave up three hits and struck out eight batters.

“For the first time this year I really got the rhythm going…” said Hawkins. “It was good to finally feel comfortable and confident out there and have the boys hitting well.”

Andreychuk hit two home runs in the blowout, including a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth that was a walk-off winner. Dallas Monk was 3-for-4 at the plate and Jeremy Harasymchuk went 2-for-3.

VIBI stayed hot in the second half of the doubleheader. Darren Kolk hit a three-run home run to lead the offence and also had a pair of doubles as part of a 4-for-4 performance. Andreychuk hit his third jack of the day. Connor Russell was the winning pitcher, throwing 3 1/3 and giving up two unearned runs on two hits. Byryn Murphy threw three scoreless relief innings for the save.

Sunday’s opener saw the Mariners get totally shut down by Okie’s starter Tanner Collins. He gave up only two hits and four baserunners over seven innings.

“Their guy beat us in Game 1. He’s pretty good. So we tip our cap for sure, that game,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager.

The series finale was more upsetting to the M’s skipper.

“We went back to just not being ready to play,” Blundell said. “We’ve got to come out better, we’ve got to be more prepared.”

The M’s made four errors in the first inning and found themselves down 2-0 right away. Andreychuk had two hits and his team’s only RBI.

The Mariners (5-15) have now completed their home schedule at Serauxmen; they are off on the road to Lethbridge, Alta., this coming weekend (April 27-28) and then finish the Canadian College Baseball Conference schedule the weekend after that in Kelowna.

As the M’s enter the stretch run, they will try to keep building on some of the good things that happened at the ballpark this past weekend.

“We’ve had a tough year so far, but [we] feel like that’s what we can do when we all put it together,” Hawkins said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com