Fastball final as close as they come

Half the width of a softball. That’s pretty much all that separated the champions from the runners-up at last week’s fastball final.

Budget Red Sox player Dan Cheetham

Budget Red Sox player Dan Cheetham

Half the width of a softball. That’s pretty much all that separated the champions from the runners-up at last week’s fastball final.

The Budget Red Sox defeated the Palladian Development team 1-0 on Thursday at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park to win the Nanaimo Senior Men’s Fastball League championship series two games to one.

The whole series was close, as Budget won 2-1 in Game 1 before Palladian took Game 2 by a 1-0 score.

“Two-one, 1-0, 1-0. In the fastball world, that’s crazy,” said Blair Bourgeault, who scored the game-winning run Thursday. “To be a part of three games in a row like that for a championship was nerve-wracking to say the least, but those are the games you want to be a part of. That’s why you play the game, right there.”

Game 3, fittingly, somehow managed to be the closest game of all. With two out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Palladian batter Mike Peters got a hold of a pitch. It hit the top of the chain-link fence in centre field, then bounced back into the field of play for a triple.

It was one of few hard-hit balls against Budget pitcher Bobby Harlow, who threw a complete-game shutout.

“You live to play games like this,” Harlow said. “You wish every game was like this, but of course they can’t be.”

The Budget Red Sox are a mix of former Nanaimo Budget and Parksville Red Sox players, so for some of the players, it was their first league championship.

“We’ve had our chances in the past and something always went wrong for us,” Bourgeault said. “This year was just our year. We finally put it together and got it done. It feels great.”

BASE LINES … Justin Levins had the game-winning RBI in Thursday’s finale, Bourgeault had two hits, Harlow hit a double and Matt Baker reached base twice. For Palladian, Murray Peters was 2-for-3 … In Game 1, Craig Snyder earned the pitching win and in Game 2, Mike Peters threw a one-hit shutout … For a related article, please click here.

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