Fall is the best time of the year in professional baseball, and Nanaimo’s college ball team is having fun these days, too.
The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners have been practising together since the start of the month to work to build the team that will compete next spring in the Canadian College Baseball Conference regular season.
“It’s been a good showing so far,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager. “There’s a good group of returning players, definitely a group that has developed some team chemistry already, and then the young guys that have come in have fit right in to what we try and do as a program.”
Wins and losses aren’t of the utmost importance at this time of year, but Blundell said he’s still been happy to see his players have success as they’ve won six of the eight games they’ve played so far in September.
The biggest game this fall – literally – will be the club’s annual 100-inning game. The intrasquad matchup will be played throughout October at practices.
“It takes quite awhile to play a 100-inning game,” Blundell said.
Players are compelled to play hard for all 100 innings because they’ve pledged to do so, sending pledge forms back to their hometowns to try to raise money for the VIBI program.
Another diversion this time of year is the VIBI Mariners youth camps for U18 and U14 minor baseball players.
“The feedback I’ve got from my guys is they like doing it,” Blundell said. “It’s another chore to work a couple hours after practice and do a camp, but at the end of the day it’s a pretty fun group of kids that are willing to learn and work hard. Once you get into teaching the little guys to play the game it becomes fun and the time flies by.”
GAME ON … The Mariners play a doubleheader on Saturday (Sept. 24) against the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s Victoria Mariners. Games go at noon and 2:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium … The following weekend VIBI will play a four-game series on the road against the Okanagan College Coyotes … For any local ball fans wishing to make a pledge toward the team’s 100-inning game, contact information can be found on the team’s website.