The Nanaimo Pirates will bring big bats into playoffs.
The Hub City Paving Pirates clinched third place in the B.C. Premier Baseball League on Monday with 12-9 and 10-0 road wins against the Abbotsford Cardinals. Matt Skingle hit a grand slam in the first game and Garrett Goodall matched that feat in the second game.
The Pirates now prepare to face the Whalley Chiefs in a best-of-three series.
“They’re a gritty team, so they’re certainly not going to rollover,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “They’ll play all seven innings hard and we have to be on top of our game because they are the type of team that can get momentum.”
It’s widely accepted that pitching and defence wins baseball games, especially at playoff time, but the Pirates win with offence and they’ll stick with what got them this far.
“Every now and again a team comes along like this and you’ve got to let them do their thing and let them run with it,” said Rogers. “Try to instil the pitching and defence aspect, but not depress what they can do. And they can swing it.”
Now that the season is over, the Pirates can claim many statistical victories. Cole Warken tallied the most hits in the BCPBL this year with 60 and was also tied for first with 40 runs scored. He was third in RBIs with 35 and fourth in batting average at .382. Zach Diewert won the RBI crown with 40 and was tied for second in the league with 52 hits. Shawn Arabsky was fourth in hits with 51. Matt Skingle’s four home runs were third best in the league and his 34 RBIs were fourth best. Shane Rogers finished tied for third in runs with 37.
Despite those gaudy numbers, Doug Rogers said the Pirates have a team-first attitude, more so, he believes, than other teams around the league.
“Once you get into the playoffs all the stats go away and it’s all about what’s on the front of your chest,” he said.
The Pirates want to win a championship, the manager said, an accomplishment that the team hasn’t realized since 2002.
“We’ve been very close, we’ve had great years, but they feel that this is a team that can do it,” Rogers said. “That’s the goal and anything short of that will be a disappointment.”
GAME ON … Game 1 and 2 are Saturday (July 25) at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium. Game 3, if necessary, will be noon on Sunday at Serauxmen Stadium.