To view a slideshow of photos from the BCPBL championships, please click here.
At times, the B.C. Premier Baseball League championships seemed to come down to a home-run derby.
The hot-hitting Okanagan Athletics beat the rest of the best and won the championship at Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium.
The A’s defeated the North Shore Twins 9-7 in Sunday’s final. The favoured Nanaimo Pirates were eliminated the night before and finished the tournament 0-3.
The hottest weekend of the summer and a breeze blowing out to right field made it a hitter’s tourney and the four teams combined for a ridiculous 14 home runs.
It took nine runs for the A’s to win Sunday’s final, but they know it took more than just bats to win the day.
“Everybody came out the way they should, everybody was excited to play,” said Josh Croft, Athletics pitcher and shortstop. “It was a team effort by everybody. Pitchers came out throwing, batters came out hitting.”
Okie built a 7-2 lead through four innings, but had to keep the hammer down to stay ahead of the previously undefeated Twins. Brandon Sonnenberg led the A’s with a single, triple and four RBIs and Croft hit two doubles and a single and drove in two runs. Dawson Yates and James Ward had two hits apiece. Morgan Lofstrom threw two relief innings to earn the win and Croft came in for the save.
For the Twins, Griff Goyer hit a home run and he, Robbey Panico and Louis Boyd had two RBIs apiece. The Twins got a baserunner to second in the bottom of the seventh, but the A’s shut down the threat.
“We had a great group of guys out here and we fed off each other,” said Sonnenberg. “We bring a lot of energy to the table. Once things start getting rolling it seems like we can’t be stopped.”
This year’s championship is the first for the Athletics franchise.
“There’s no feeling like it,” said Croft. “It’s unbelievable, just the work that we’ve put in and to see the result we got, I couldn’t be any happier.”
BASE LINES … The Pirates lost 8-4 to the North Shore Twins on Friday, lost 9-1 to the Coquitlam Reds on Saturday and then lost 4-1 to the A’s in Saturday’s late game. Look for more on the Pirates in an upcoming issue of the News Bulletin.