The good news seems to keep accumulating for the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners.
The team is coming off a three-win Canadian College Baseball Conference weekend against the Calgary Dinos – losing the only game of the weekend by a one-run margin – and have another Alberta-based team coming to town this weekend (April 16-17) in the Lethbridge Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs.
Add to that the settlement in the strike between Vancouver Island University and its faculty association, and the team can concentrate fully on baseball.
Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager, said having the school issue resolved is important to the baseball program.
“Finding out what’s happening with their semester takes away some pressure,” he said. “Some finality with their education allows them to get back into a routine of mixing classroom and baseball.”
Cody Phipps, Mariner centre-fielder, said some of the guys are excited to get back to studies but there is some anxiety of fitting a month lost classroom time into a two week period.
But Phipps doesn’t expect the strike issues to make their way onto the field.
“Everybody is contributing and that is a positive for the team,” he said. “It’s about being productive in all aspects.”
Phipps said the effort put forth by the players creates momentum and boosts team moral.
“One player may not get a base hit but sees nine pitches. The next guy see those nine pitches and has a better read at his turn at bat,” he said.
The Dawgs come to town sitting in second spot in the conference’s Chris Reitsma Division, and Phipps is looking forward to the weekend games.
“I grew up in Alberta and the Prairie Baseball Academy was always the team everyone talked about,” he said. “They’ll play us hard, but we’re not a team to panic when someone stands in there with us. There’s no panic, just know your role and get the job done.”
Game times at Serauxmen Stadium are 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday.