Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – One thing for sure when the Victoria Mariners and Victoria Eagles face off against each other in a BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) game is that the score will be close. For the fourth time this season and sixth time in the last two years, a game between these two teams was decided by a single run, this time with the Eagles emerging with a 5-4 win on Tuesday evening July 8th at Henderson Park in Victoria.
The Eagles Brendan Turcotte would have the only two Eagle hits of the game, including a double and an RBI, to help the Eagles defeat the Mariners 5-4 on Tuesday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles win, combined with a previous 2-1 win over the Mariners and 3-2 and 2-1 losses, evened the 2014 record between the two clubs at two wins apiece and moved the Eagles (now 22-20) into a tie for 5th place in the BCPBL standings with the Vancouver Cannons, both a full game up on the White Rock Tritons.
It also makes the final race for playoff positions in the BCPBL interesting. If the season finished today and in the order teams are listed in the BCPBL standings, the third place Mariners and sixth place Eagles would meet in the first round, something that makes a few of the Mariners a bit nervous.
"I for one would not want to play these guys in the playoffs," said Mariner reliever Dan Phillips prior to Tuesday's action. "They always play us close and in playoffs you just never know what can happen."
The Eagles Dallas Patterson pitched his fourth consecutive complete game victory and improved his recrod to a league-leading 7-0 with the 5-4 win over the Mariners (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The teams will have a couple of weeks to worry about that however, as the Eagles have six games remaining in their schedule, all at home, while the Mariners finish with three on the road. Final standings will not likley be determined until the second place North Shore Twins and the Eagles wrap-up the BCPBL season with a make-up doubleheader on Tueday July 22nd at Lambrick Park.
On Tuesday night, the Eagles, missing a number of key players who are at various select team tryouts, ran an interesting line-up out on to the field to start the game, including regular closer Drew Davidoff making a start in left-field and regular pitcher Tyler DeMan starting at third.
The moves seemed to pay off for the Eagles, as Davidoff, having his first plate appearances since a game on June 1st, would reach base three times, all on walks, and score one of the Eagles five runs.
Although his at bats this season have been rare, the Eagles Drew Davidoff made the most of his three plate appearances Tuesday, walking three times and scoring one of the Eagle runs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Eagles would get the jump on the Mariners early, scoring twice in the first inning, and adding another two in the fourth to hold a 4-1 lead through 3.5 innings.
All of those runs came off Mariners starter Chris Fougner, who did not help himself, struggling a bit with his control and walking six in total. This included three in the first inning and another two, with two outs in the fourth, both of which then came in to score on a double from Brendan Turcotte, his second hit of the game, and just the second hit allowed by Fougner and the only two hits allowed by the Mariners in the game.
The Mariners defence, often their strong point this season, also failed in the clutch, as four key errors allowed the Eagles to score three of their runs unearned, including the first two runs of the game and the Eagles lone run in the fifth, which turned out to be the game winner.
Victoria Mariner pitching coach Randy Holt (centre) and catcher Evan Willow (left) make an early visit to check on starter Chris Fougner (right) who struggled early and took the loss against the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Mariners, who responded with a single run in the bottom of the first inning, would score another two in the fourth to pull within one at 4-3, and then another in the fifth to make it 5-4, but that would be all they could get off Eagles starter Dallas Patterson who, after allowing an RBI-single to Evan Willow in the fifth – his second hit of the game – retired the last eight Mariner batters of the game to get the complete game victory.
Patterson finished the night allowing just two earned runs on eight hits, while walking none and striking out three. It was his fourth consecutive complete game win in as many starts and improves his league leading won-loss record to 7-0 with an ERA of 1.86.
As noted, Brendan Turcotte had the only two hits for the Eagles on the evening, while Stephen Thornton had a pair of RBIs including the game winner. Zane Takhar scored a pair of runs. For the Mariners, Fougner and Willow led the way with two hits each, with Willow adding a pair of RBIs.