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VIU baseball stepping to the plate for season opener

Team hosting four-game series at Serauxmen Stadium from March 24-26 to start spring
VIU Mariners player Quinten Astorino takes swings at practice last week at the Serauxmen Sports Fields. (Bailey Seymour/News Bulletin)

The crack of the bat is about to sound, as baseball season is here.

The Vancouver Island University Mariners baseball club steps to the plate this weekend, March 24-26, to start the Canadian College Baseball Conference season with a four-game series against the always-tough Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs.

The Mariners finished fourth in the pennant race last year and according to a league press release, “the Mariners are looking to make a statement in 2023 and continue to climb the leader board.”

VIU has some promising new additions, but the team knows that to have success it will have to “rely heavily” on its veteran core.

Pitcher Jake Nikirk, chosen a second-team all-star last season after posting a 1.47 earned-run average and 19 strikeouts over 24.1 innings, will look to be a leader again on the mound.

The M’s are also counting on another big year from shortstop James Joyce, who was a first-team all-star in his freshman season after leading the team in batting average (.368), home runs (5) and stolen bases (17).

“In order for VIU to be successful they will need Joyce to continue his dominance at the plate,” the release noted, while adding the shortstop was also impressive defensively with a .934 fielding percentage over 209.2 innings.

Another key returnee is Trent Lawson, a second-team all-star last year who was a leader on the field and in the locker room.

“Lawson will be continued to be relied on in the big moments in 2023,” the release noted.

Among the group of newcomers, the M’s are anxious to see transfer pitcher Caleb Battye eat up innings, Nanaimo’s Alex McLauchlan is expected to earn a role in the infield and Jackson Taylor should be a contributor both in the outfield and at the plate.

The Mariners baseball team is hosting a beer-and-burger fundraiser Thursday, March 23, from 6-9 at the Old City Station Pub. Tickets are $40 and there will be a silent auction and 50-50 draw. Tickets are available at

GAME ON … The VIU Mariners play the PBA Dawgs at Serauxmen Stadium on Friday, March 24, at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 25, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 6, at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

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