An incredible comeback made for an opening day that the Pirates won’t forget anytime soon.
A walk-off grand slam by Tristan Olsen capped an 8-7 win for the Hub City Paving Pirates versus the Victoria Eagles on Saturday at Serauxmen Stadium.
Nanaimo was losing 7-2 going into the bottom of the last inning, but Vic got into trouble by plunking the first three batters to load the bases. The Pirates pushed two runs across and Olsen came to the plate, still with nobody out. On a 1-1 count, he squared up the baseball and drove it well over the left-field fence.
“That’s what you look for out of one of your leaders, is for them to come through in the clutch when you need them,” said Keith Radix, Pirates assistant coach.
Olsen was the hero, but Radix called it a team win.
“It takes everybody to score at least six runs in an inning,” said the assistant coach. “Everybody gets a chance to contribute, so everybody feels like they’re part of the team and that’s exactly what we need early on in the year.”
The fact that the Pirates had a plan of attack in the late innings and had success also gives guys a greater belief in the system, he said. Even now in April, it could be a turning point in the season.
“It could really set us up to have these guys get through that learning curve a little bit quicker,” said Radix. “That game will stick with us throughout the whole year.”
Robert Busch was the winning pitcher after throwing six innings of relief.
The first half of the doubleheader was a 1-0 loss. Garrett Goodall threw a complete game, but there wasn’t a lot of offence aside from a Zach Diewert double.
The next day, a more confident Pirates team split a doubleheader in south Surrey against the White Rock Tritons, losing 8-3 and then winning 5-3. The Pirates made four errors which led to the loss, said Radix. Connor Jones was tagged with the ‘L’ on the mound. Dakota St. Laurent was 3-for-3 and Diewert hit a single and a double.
In the weekend finale, Matt Stevenson threw a complete-game victory. Shawn Arabsky went 3-for-5 to lead the offence and Cole Warken, Olsen and St. Laurent each had two hits.
GAME ON … On Saturday (April 26) the Pirates host the Coquitlam Reds, with games at noon and 2:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium. The next day the North Shore Twins visit for games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.