Pirates create some highlights at tournament

The Nanaimo Pirates won three out of five games last weekend at the Langley Blaze Invitational tournament.

The Nanaimo Pirates didn’t quite catch fire at the Langley Blaze Invitational tournament, but they might be starting to heat up.

The Hub City Paving Pirates won three out of five games last weekend in the Fraser Valley, including two on their final day at the tourney.

“Our last two games were really good, so hopefully that will lead us through,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager.

Nanaimo started with a 1-0 shutout against the eventual-tournament-champion North Shore Twins on Thursday. The next day, Nanaimo lost 10-6 to Langley’s B team and then fell 4-1 to Okotoks. The Pirates responded Saturday with a 7-3 win over the Victoria Eagles and a 14-4 blowout against Brampton.

A difference-maker at the tournament was first baseman Matt Skingle, who hit two home runs.

“He launched a couple balls,” Rogers said. “They were bombs.”

Actually, one was an ace as it cleared the fence and travelled another 75 feet onto the tennis court beyond.

Another guy who showed well was pitcher North Rainey, who threw a complete-game shutout on the first day. He struck out eight and while he gave up some walks, he was able to get out of jams.

“He had a solid outing and there were some people that were watching, some D1 scouts…” Rogers said. “I think he was toughing 86 that day so it was a real positive day for him.”

The Pirates now turn their attention back to league play as they host the Whalley Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs are the Pirates’ closest pursuers in the B.C. Premier Baseball League standings.

“Knowing that a team’s behind us in the standings, [we’ll try to put] them away and not have to look at them breathing down our necks.”

GAME ON … The Pirates and Chiefs play Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com