As the competition in the premier league improves, so do the Nanaimo Pirates.
The Hub City Paving Pirates (21-5) won three out of four B.C. Premier Baseball League games at Serauxmen Stadium on the weekend. Nanaimo swept the Coquitlam Reds on Saturday by scores of 6-1 and 3-1, then edged the Abbotsford Cardinals 1-0 on Sunday before dropping the weekend finale 4-2.
Taking three out of four is successful, said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager.
“Am I happy losing the last game? I want that fourth game, and so do the kids; their heads are down,” he said. “But once the week goes on they’ll understand that was pretty successful.”
The weekend got off to a strong start as pitcher Luke Skingle mowed through the Reds’ lineup en route to his league-leading seventh win. Skingle threw a complete game, allowing only three hits while striking out 11.
Brady Rogers was 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the offence and Brendan McCarthy and Ben Dunbar also went 2-for-3.
The second game was more intense, as two Reds coaches were ejected, one for arguing balls and strikes and the other for arguing following a strange play in the outfield on a bobbled catch.
Justin Clarkson hit a single and a double, Braeden Mousseau reached base twice and Bryan Odgers picked up the win on the mound in a complete game.
In Sunday’s early game Colby Morgan ended up just a couple of outs away from a no-hitter after his teammates jinxed him by talking about it.
Morgan improved his league-best earned-run average to 0.33 as he gave up two hits in a complete game.
“Colby was outstanding,” said Doug Rogers. “He figured out a way to get guys out without his best stuff and that’s a real key component in the maturation of a pitcher.”
Morgan said he was able to hit his spots.
“Normally my change-up’s my go-to pitch but it wasn’t working, so I just spotted up my fastball and that was working today,” he said.
Dunbar and Griffin Andreychuk doubled back-to-back to provide Morgan with enough run support.
In the finale, Clarkson was tagged with the ‘L’ and then Alex Rogers threw six innings of shutout relief, allowing just two hits. Andreychuk again had an RBI double and Crosby Rushton had a hit and two runs scored.
Andreychuk said the Pirates were well-rounded on the weekend.
“We had great pitching peformances from all or our pitchers…” he said. “Our hitting came along pretty good, everybody was swinging the bat decent, and our defence was solid.”
GAME ON … The Pirates play the Victoria Eagles on the road Thursday (June 14), then travel to the Interior to face the Okanagan Athletics Saturday and Sunday.