Pirates try for perfect ending

Nanaimo's Hub City Paving Pirates begin play Friday at the B.C. Premier Baseball League championships.

For a few seasons now, the Nanaimo Pirates have had a flair for the dramatic. They have a knack for late-inning heroics, for thriving under pressure.

This weekend (July 26-28), they’ll try to show those traits in the biggest games of the summer. The Hub City Paving Pirates begin play Friday at the B.C. Premier Baseball League championships.

Only four of the league’s 13 teams are still playing at this stage. For a youthful, No. 7-seeded club to be in the mix is an achievement in itself.

“We hoped for it. I’m not sure if we expected it,” said Braeden Mousseau, Pirates catcher.

The last two summers the Pirates were among the playoff favourites, but didn’t win any games at the final tourney.

“It takes one team to get hot, it takes one pitcher to have a good game and you can lose,” Mousseau said. “Last year we were by far the best team there and it didn’t happen for us.

“Anyone can beat anyone at any day, so we’re just going to have to focus every pitch, every at bat, every game.”

Shortstop Brady Rogers said the Pirates are “a scary team” because of their pitching.

Pitching is a strength, certainly, but then there’s also that late-inning magic that the Pirates possess.

“It’s almost like we have another gear we turn to when the game’s on the line or our season’s on the line,” Mousseau said.

He noted that all those dramatic victories tend to be team wins – a guy will get on base, the next guy will move him over, and another guy will deliver the clutch hit.

“In close games we have way more intensity,” Rogers said. “It’s what brings us up and makes us play better.”

The challenge at this weekend’s championships will be maintaining that intensity and focus for 21 innings, and hopefully more.

The Pirates intend to rise to the occasion.

“That’s what you play sports for,” Mousseau said. “You want to be in that final moment in the seventh inning, be up at bat, you want to have the ball, or have the game on the line.”

The Pirates have as much of a chance as any team to reach those final moments of the tournament. The PBL’s top three seeds were all upset in the first round, so in a final four that includes the host Abbotsford Cardinals, the Victoria Eagles, the Pirates and the Vancouver Cannons, the tournament is up for grabs.

“Every single year I thought we were going to win because our team’s been so good,” said Rogers. “And this team [is] the most unexpected team and we have the best chance of winning it.

“We are going to win it. I know we will.”

GAME ON … The Pirates start the PBL championships Friday against the Eagles at 4:30 p.m. at Abbotsford’s Delair Park.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read