Nanaimo Coal Miners baserunner Joey Sabo

Nanaimo Coal Miners baserunner Joey Sabo

Men’s baseball provincials feature great games

The Nanaimo Coal Miners lost 11-2 to the Coquitlam Angels in the semifinals Monday morning at B.C. senior men's baseball championships.

The Coal Miners weren’t able to mine gold at provincials, but they were happy to put on a top-notch tournament.

The Nanaimo Coal Miners lost 11-2 to the Coquitlam Angels in the semifinals Monday morning at Serauxmen Stadium at the PWB B.C. Senior Baseball Association championships.

“Coquitlam played well,” said Bryan Dumesnil, Nanaimo manager. “We had a chance. We kept it close till the end there; the wheels fell off a little bit. I’m proud of the guys. Everyone did their job, a lot of ball in a short amount of time.”

The Angels took an early 3-0 lead, but the Coal Miners closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the fifth before the opponents responded with six runs in their half of the inning.

Burnaby won provincials, blowing out Coquitlam 9-2 in the B.C. final.

Nanaimo won three of its five games overall, losing to the Angels 10-5 to start the tourney Friday night and then winning three in a row, 9-5 against the Trail Orioles on Saturday and then 6-5 against the Prince George Greys and 1-0 against the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Muckers on Sunday.

The Muckers started with a 2-1 loss to the Kamloops Sun Devils on Friday, beat the Victoria Mavericks 2-1 on Saturday and then lost 3-1 to the Burnaby Bulldogs on Sunday morning before their evening crossover against the Coal Miners.

That all-Nanaimo matchup was a highlight of the tourney, with both teams showcasing great pitching and defence before the Coal Miners won it in extra innings.

Dumesnil liked the way his team came together for provincials. An all-star team built from the Nanaimo Coal Miners Baseball League, it incorporated not only a lot of Nanaimo Pirates alumni, but also players of all ages, from varying baseball backgrounds.

“It’s nice to see such a diverse age group and everyone’s still out for the same reason and competitive,” Dumesnil said.

The sunny weather and the high-calibre baseball brought out fans for all four days of the tourney; many spectators took advantage of the beer garden set up in temporary centre-field bleachers.

“The volunteers have been great, you can’t do it without them, and the beer garden has been amazing. It’s just a neat little thing to add to the tournament. It kind of adds to the environment of the whole stadium. And the fans have been great,” Dumesnil said.

He said with the provincial championships, the recent Victoria HarbourCats exhibition game, the success of the Coal Miners men’s league and the lighting project at Mariner Field, it’s creating a lot of positives for the sport, all at once.

“I think people are kind of talking about baseball again in Nanaimo…” Dumesnil said. “It just seems like baseball’s kind of coming in the right direction. It’s exciting.”