The VIBI Mariners showed only a glimpse of what they’re capable of.
Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (1-7) won one of its four games on the weekend against the University of Calgary Dinos (3-5) at Serauxmen Stadium.
VIBI lost the series opener Saturday 4-3, but bounced back to take the rematch 10-0. The next day, the Dinos bit back with 3-2 and 4-2 wins.
“We could have done more. I’m sick of … losing,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager.
“It’s just a decision to be better. These are one-run games, basically, that we’re not doing enough to be successful in. Just bear down. There’s opportunity for you and you’ve got to seize it when you get it.”
Jackson McCuaig, Mariners first baseman, said his team is close.
“We just need to have that one big hit, that one thing that’s going to put us over the top and give us the result we’re looking for,” he said.
Despite the team’s record, it isn’t going to get too down on itself.
“It’s too early to start panicking about this,” McCuaig said.
In the first game Connor Russell took the loss, allowing four earned runs over 7 2/3 innings. Dallas Monk was 3-for-3 at the plate and Cody Andreychuk hit two doubles.
The second game was a mercy-rule victory, as Jon Cruz hit a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the sixth to give his team the 10-run margin. He ended up with four runs batted in, Andreychuk had three and Darren Kolk went 4-for-4. Winning pitcher Cody Chartrand allowed just one hit and one walk.
In Sunday’s early game Andreychuk homered to centre field in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 2-2, but U of C pushed back ahead in the seventh and held on. Reiley Grose took the loss on the mound.
The series finale saw Byryn Murphy suffer the loss, giving up one earned run over four innings. Kolk hit a home run in the fourth and Aaron Witzke got his team to within a run with an RBI single in the eighth.
Blundell said to win close games, his players need to be more focused.
“First pitch to the last pitch, it’s just a focus that you need. It’s an energy, it’s an appetite to be successful,” he said. “We’ve seen it a few times. We have enough guys that have won at lots of different levels so it’s just about getting on the same page and making that happen.”
GAME ON … The Mariners continue their Canadian College Baseball Conference schedule with games Saturday (April 6) and Sunday in Kamloops against the Dinos and Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.