After an entire regular season and a best-of-three final, only one run separated the champions from the runners-up.
The Wheatsheaf fastball club defeated Palladian Developments 8-7 on Thursday at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park to win the Nanaimo Senior Men’s Fastball League title.
The finale was worthy of a championship game, as both teams needed to compete hard until the final out. Wheatsheaf scored six runs in the first inning and built a margin that proved too much for Palladian to overcome.
“It’s important in any game, but in the big games it’s especially important to get up early on them,” said Chris McCormick, Wheatsheaf player. “We just hit the ball hard.”
Blake Hunter, another Wheatsheaf player, said after his team lost Game 2 in extra innings, it made sure to be “ready and amped up” for the rubber match. It showed in that big first inning.
“When you do stuff like that it kind of brings the other team down and brings the energy level up on your side,” Hunter said.
But Palladian nearly had a comeback in them.
“It was tough,” Hunter said. “They’ve done it to us all year, every game, we’ve gone up and they’ve seemed to find a way to claw back.”
The Wheaties will compete in the Western Canadian championships later this month, but in the meantime, they’ll enjoy this victory.
“It’s the first one we’ve got as this group so it means a lot to all of us,” McCormick said.
Lee Lucas was the winning pitcher and helped his own cause at the plate with a hit, a walk and a stolen base. Hunter had a hit, a walk and three RBIs and McCormick hit a two-RBI double.
For Palladian, Mike Peters suffered the loss on the mound but led his team’s offence with a home run, a double and a walk. Steve Wallace hit two doubles.
Wheatsheaf won Game 1 by a 9-3 score and Palladian took Game 2 in extra innings, 7-6.