Teams don’t get many chances like this to win a championship.
The Nanaimo Pirates know that, and that’s why they want, more than anything, to seize the opportunity that’s in front of them.
The Hub City Paving Pirates host the B.C. Premier Baseball League provincial championships at Serauxmen Stadium starting Friday (Aug. 3).
Due to a couple of first-round playoff upsets in other series, the Pirates are the No. 1 seed going into provincials and clear favourites to win it all.
“Every other team’s going to be gunning for us, because they know that we’re the team to beat now,” said Brendan McCarthy, Pirates outfielder and first baseman. “We’re going to see some competition and it’s going to be fun.”
The other participating teams are the Okanagan Athletics, the Coquitlam Reds and the North Shore Twins.
“It’s mostly teams we did beat a lot during the season, but it’s playoffs, anything can happen,” said Colby Morgan, Pirates pitcher. “We can’t come out like we think we’re going to beat them, we’ve got to come out and play our best and see what happens.”
All four teams earned their way to the tournament, so all are capable. The Pirates had the best earned-run average out of the four at 2.15, but the A’s had the best team batting with a .289 average.
“Every game is going to be a good game, you’re not going to see a bad game of baseball here,” said Ryan Smith, Pirates right fielder. “If anybody happens to play a bad game, they’re going to be paying for it.”
Conversely, any team could get hot. Morgan said one good inning early in the tournament could spark the Pirates and lead to great things.
And the premier Pirates aren’t afraid to think big.
“We’ve been looking towards it all year; it’s been our goal to win it,” said Bryan Odgers, Pirates pitcher and designated hitter. “We want to win it, we’ve all got the same goal to win it.”
It’s been the goal since the outset of the season, when the Pirates learned they had a host berth and a chance at a B.C. championship.
“Now it’s finally here, it’s knocking on the door and everybody here is excited,” said Smith. “We’re ready for it.”
GAME ON … The Pirates and Twins play Friday at 6 p.m. On Saturday Nanaimo faces Coquitlam at 12:30 p.m. and faces Okanagan at 6 p.m. The final is Sunday at 12:30 p.m.