Coal Miners have a blast at ballpark

The Nanaimo Cross & Co. Coal Miners blasted off at the Canada Day Baseball Blast tournament and will look to maintain that momentum.

The Nanaimo Cross & Co. Coal Miners blasted off at the Canada Day Baseball Blast tournament and will look to maintain that momentum for the rest of the summer.

The city’s senior men’s baseball team reached the final of the tournament, losing the final July 1 to the Seattle Studs by a 3-1 score.

The Coal Miners won four out of their six games at the tourney.

“By far our best weekend as a team,” said Jeff Vickers, Coal Miners player, in an e-mail.

The tournament could have been even better, as Nanaimo had the tying run on base at the end of that final game against the Studs.

In round-robin play, the Coal Miners defeated the Northwest Honkers 6-3 and the Fraser Valley Chiefs 12-5, then lost 12-3 to Burnaby Collegiate.

In the playoff round, Nanaimo edged Burnaby 5-4, then handled the Kamloops Sun Devils 11-6 in the semifinals.

In the first game, Joey Benda threw a complete-game victory with 10 strikeouts and Darren Kolk and Donny MacQuarrie had two hits each.

In the second game, Kolk hit a three-run home run, Vickers was 3-for-5 and Dale Ballance went 2-for-3. Frank Kaluzniak was the winning pitcher.

In the blowout loss, Ballance hit two home runs and was 3-for-3.

The first playoff game saw pickup pitcher Sean Laing earn the win, with Ballance leading the offence with two hits.

Kolk struck out seven over six innings in the semifinal victory and Greg Wallace had a huge game with two home runs and five RBIs. Jake Salter added two hits.

In the final, Benda allowed only one hit over 4 2/3 innings. Kolk went 3-for-3 and Jordan Blundell was 2-for-3.

The Miners were less successful this past weekend on a road trip to the U.S., but look forward to returning to their home park Saturday and Sunday (July 14-15) to host doubleheaders against the Langley Blaze and the Coquitlam Angels, respectively. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m. both days at Serauxmen Stadium.