Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – Superb pitching performances by the Victoria Eagles Riley Edmonds and the Victoria Mariners Colton Wood became moot points Thursday, as the two Victoria based BC Premier Baseball League teams battled to a highly entertaining 3-3 draw through 10 full innings before the game had to be suspended due to a neighbourhood by-law that requires the lights at Lambrick Park to be turned off at 10:00 pm.
Score one for the Saanich by-law office and the neighbours surrounding Lambrick Park who fought for the 10:00 curfew when the lights were first installed a number of years ago, citing concerns about excessive noise later into the evening. To this author's memory, this is the first time a game has pushed the 10:00 pm limit and had to be suspended as a result.
That is really too bad, because this one had classic written all over it.
The game started out pretty much how all Victoria Eagle and Mariner match ups have started this season, with the Mariners sending their ace Colton Wood to the mound and the Eagles responding, as they did in the first match-up between the two teams this year, with Riley Edmonds.
The fourth place Eagles, who dropped a close 2-0 decision to Wood just last week, could be forgiven for thinking that the second place Mariners only have one pitcher on their staff, as in the three games between the clubs so far this season, including tonight's game, Wood has been on the hill for 21 and 2/3 of the 24 innings that have been played between the two teams.
And for good reason, he always seems to save his best for games against the cross-town Eagles.
However on this night, Wood was being matched inning for inning by the Eagle's Edmonds, whose good mix of off-speed pitches and an almost full side-arm delivery at times, kept the Mariner hitters at bay and the game scoreless through the first 3 and 1/2 innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Eagles would get to Wood first for a run, as Brandon Feldman, the league's leading hitter would single and be advanced to second, where he would then score on a two-out single from Tony Ebbs-Canavan.
That lead would hold until the top of the sixth, when the Mariners would catch a break, as an error by Eagle's first baseman Brett Hull on a dribbler from David Warren allowed Lucas Piechnik – who had led off the inning with a double – to score, and the game was tied 1-1.
That's the way it would stay through seven full innings, when Edmonds, who finished with seven strikeouts and no walks on the day, would give way to reliever Eric Hegadoren. In the top of the eighth, Hegadoren would get two quick outs, but then falter, giving up a walk to Jesse Mycock and an RBI single to Warren that would put the Mariners on top 2-1. Reliever Ty Jocko then came in and induced Brendan Somers to fly out, ending the inning.
The Mariners would send work horse Wood back to the mound for the bottom of the eighth, but the Eagles were not going to go down easy and Vinny Martin would come through with a clutch RBI double down the third base line that scored Zane Takhar who had previously singled.
That set the stage for a showdown between Wood and Eagle's slugger Feldman, but it would be Wood who prevailed, getting out of the inning with the 2-2 tie and finishing the night throwing 107 pitches with 11 strikeouts and walking only one.
The drama would continue in the top of the ninth when the Mariners would get a leadoff double from Evan Willow and he would later score, when, with the bases loaded, Warren would get hit by a pitch by Jocko, making it 3-2 Mariners.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles saw a new Mariner pitcher for the first time in 15 innings, as reliever Dan Phillips took to the mound. Perhaps spurred on by this, the Eagles rallied and after walks to Will Wild and Takhar and a sacrifice fly by Ben Goertzen, Wild would score on a RBI single from Kyle Murai and the game was once again tied 3-3.
In the top of the tenth, the Mariners would briefly threaten as Morgan Varley would single, but then eventually get caught trying to steal second after a nice pickoff move from Bontkes.
The game then moved to the bottom of the tenth where the Mariners Nick Dawson would head to the mound and hold serve, sending the game to the eleventh inning and on to another day, as with the time at 9:56 pm and the lights slated to go off at 10:00 pm, no new inning could be started and the game was called.