Premier Pirates star at Canada Cup

Justin Clarkson, Brady Rogers, Brendan McCarthy and Ben Dunbar of the Hub City Paving Pirates were all part of Team B.C. that won bronze at the national tournament Aug. 10-15.

Four Nanaimo Pirates went all the way to Moncton, N.B. to play in the Canada Cup. They did so well there that their baseball journey might now take them even further.

Justin Clarkson, Brady Rogers, Brendan McCarthy and Ben Dunbar of the Hub City Paving Pirates were all part of Team B.C. that won bronze at the national tournament Aug. 10-15. The B.C. team was made up of the best age-eligible Premier Baseball League players.

The Canada Cup tourney is the basis for selection to the country’s national junior team, and Pirates manager Doug Rogers said all the Nanaimo players deserve consideration after their performances in Moncton.

A highlight of the tournament was a monster game by Brady Rogers in the round robin in an 8-6 loss to the eventual gold-medal winners, Ontario. The infielder hit three home runs adding up to six RBIs in the contest. It was the first time in tournament history that a player hit three dingers in one game.

“He had that one-in-a-lifetime game against the best team…” said Doug Rogers. “It opened up a whole lot of people’s eyes.”

Brady led the round-robin in batting average, home runs and RBIs and finished with a .438 average.

Clarkson, said Doug Rogers, might have the best chance of any Pirates player of making the junior national team after throwing well in two relief appearances, picking up one win and finishing with a 1.68 earned-run average.

“The scouts who don’t really know him all of a sudden started lifting their guns up and started trying to figure out who this kid was on the mound,” Rogers said. “He was touching 87 and living around 84, 85. He’s now put himself on the map.”

Brendan McCarthy earned the starting job in left field for Team B.C., hitting .300 at the tourney.

“He showed himself quite well,” Rogers said. “He played well defensively and obviously contributed defensively.”

Dunbar earned the starting catcher’s role. His defence was strong all tourney and his hitting started to pick up as the week progressed.

“[He] caught extremely well,” said Rogers. “Nobody ran on him, just like in the PBL. Probably his reputation is out there.”

Rogers said the B.C. team might have been the best team at the tournament, so bronze was a minor disappointment. But to see his charges do so well individually made him proud, and also optimistic about the future.

“It leads well into next season now for these guys,” Rogers said. “Now they have an idea of what’s expected of them.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com