If the last game of the season has any bearing on the playoffs, then the VIBI Mariners could be overpowering.
Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute won its final game of the regular season, 21-12 on Tuesday in Alberta against the University of Calgary Dinos.
“We were able to stick with it and score more than they did,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager.
The score might not have been a coach’s dream, but players could be forgiven for looking ahead – national championships start tonight (May 7).
“We’ve played pretty good baseball here the last couple of weeks and we’re looking forward to getting into the playoffs,” Blundell said. “It’s something that we’re prepared for and we’re going in there no excuses and we’ll see what happens. We like our chances. Our guys are ready.”
The Mariners won three out of four games this week in Calgary against the Dinos and the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack to bring their record to an even .500 this spring.
The M’s were able to earn splits the last two weekends of the season against the league’s best teams, reinforcement that they can play with anyone. That said, every team will bring its highest level to this week’s playoff tournament. The Mariners will be facing some bona fide aces.
“You’ve got to battle those guys hard and you’ve got to take advantage of mistakes and you’ve got to try to get to them early,” Blundell said. “You don’t want them to settle in and get a good flow going.”
Quite a few VIBI hitters are swinging a hot bat after their 21-run effort, including Chad Schultz, who had six RBIs in that game, and Connor Merilees, who had five.
The Mariners start the national championships the right way, playing the feature game tonight against the host Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs. VIBI will send out its ace, Nanaimo’s Kenton Schroter, the league’s strikeout king this season.
Blundell said VIBI’s pitching staff is deep, and said some guys are much more important to the team than their numbers might show.
And regular-season numbers go out the window, anyway, as any player could be in position to be a playoff hero.
“We’re at this point and now we can just relax and have fun and go see what we can do,” the manager said. “You need a couple bounces to go your way and you need a guy or two that maybe you didn’t expect to step up and deliver. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys here that are ready to be that guy.”
For more information about the tournament, please visit www.ccbc.pointstreaksites.com.