The Nanaimo Pirates had another winning weekend as they continue their surge in the standings.
The Hub City Paving Pirates won three out of four games on the mainland, beating the North Shore Twins 6-5 and losing the rematch 4-3 on Saturday, then sweeping the North Delta Blue Jays 8-1 and 8-4 on Sunday.
The biggest game of the weekend was the first one, as it not only came against the league-leading Twins, but against their major-league-drafted pitcher Will McAffer.
“The score was a lot closer than what the game was…” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “That was a real solid win for us and it tested us to see where we stood up against the first-place team and we stack up very well.”
The next day, Pirates pitcher Garrett Goodall set the tone with a complete-game victory.
“He’s finishing his pitches, his ball’s down and he’s back to what he was before, dominating games within the strike zone,” Rogers said.
The bats were the story in Sunday’s late game, as the Pirates battered the Blue Jays. Kevin Sengara hit a home run in that one.
“It was nice to see him run into one like that,” Rogers said. “That can only build confidence in the rest of his at bats and that’s what he’s going to need to do for us.”
In the first game of the weekend, Robert Busch was the winning pitcher, giving up two runs over six innings while striking out six. Shawn Arabsky and Shane Rogers had two RBIs apiece.
In the loss, Zach Diewert went 2-for-3, Rogers had a single and a double and Chris Vlaj had two RBIs.
Goodall struck out nine in his win Sunday and Will Drewry led the offence with three RBIs.
The weekend finale saw Cole Warken go 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Arabsky was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and North Rainey was the winning pitcher.
Taking three out of four wins not only strengthens the Pirates’ push for home-field advantage in the playoffs, but it keeps the team on target for an even higher placing.
“There’s a lot of scoreboard watching,” Doug Rogers said. “Guys are obviously excited and they want to hunt down these teams above them, so we’re playing for that.”
But they’ll have to wait a little while before going after their next win – the Pirates now get a week and a half break in the B.C. Premier Baseball League schedule. They’ll appreciate the time off, the manager said.
“We have some injuries that we need to take care of and I commend my guys, they played through some injuries and some pretty substantial injuries, too, and some of my real key guys,” Rogers said. “So that shows a lot of character.”
GAME ON … Nanaimo’s next game is July 1, when it hosts a doubleheader against the Victoria Mariners. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium.