Mariners to take on rivals

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners third baseman Aaron Tyacke fields a ground ball during a defensive drill at practice on Thursday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners third baseman Aaron Tyacke fields a ground ball during a defensive drill at practice on Thursday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium.

The VIBI Mariners are in for an early-season test this weekend.

Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute team (2-0) is off to Kamloops on Saturday (April 2) and Sunday to face the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.

The TRU team is a perennial contender in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. The M’s and the Pack have already played four times this spring, but the last time the teams met in a meaningful game was last year’s national final, a 7-4 win for VIBI.

TRU won the championship the year before.

“They have experience winning. That’s something that I think they know how to do, so you have to play your best baseball against them,” said Jordan Blundell, M’s manager.

Years ago the two programs used to be at each other’s throats, Blundell said, but now there is more mutual respect.

“It’s good program against good program. There’s some respect there,” Blundell said. “We’re going to bring our game, you bring your game and we’ll see how it shakes out.”

GAME ON … The VIBI Mariners will hold their home openers next Saturday (April 9), when the University of Calgary Dinos visit Serauxmen Stadium for games at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com