Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart, Island Sports News – A bases loaded, one-out infield ground ball by Eric Hegadoren scored Tony Ebbs-Canavan from third base to give the Victoria Junior Premier Eagles an exciting 5-4, 10-inning victory over the Victoria Mariners in BC Junior Premier Baseball League action Thursday night at Lambrick Park.
The game started out quietly enough, as Eagle starter Ebbs-Canavan and Mariner starter Tanner Hess both retired the first six batters they faced to keep the game scoreless through two innings.
After Ebbs-Canavan pitched another 1-2-3 inning to start the 3rd inning, the Eagles provided some run support for him by pushing a pair of runs across in the bottom of the inning, thanks in part to an RBI-double by Jordan Parmar and an RBI single by Kyle Murai.
The Eagles Tony Ebbs-Canavan would have a solid outing, going 5 innings and giving up just a single run on two hits, while striking out four (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
That 2-0 lead would hold up until the top of the 5th inning when the Mariners would finally get to Ebbs-Canavan for a run, as Brandon Ashford drew a walk and was knocked home on an RBI-single by Lucas Piechnik.
A second run on Piechnik's hit was denied by the Eagles defence, as Dakota St. Laurent, who also walked earlier, was cut down at home plate on a great relay to Eagle catcher Lyndon Simmons who made the tag.
Eagle catcher Lyndon Simmons successfully blocks and tags out the Mariner's Dakota St. Laurent in the 5th inning Thursday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The big play at the plate seemed to spark the Eagles, as Graeme Chong and Zane Takhar would touch up Hess in the bottom of the inning for a pair of singles and then be knocked home on a 2-out, 2-RBI double by Eagle's leading hitter Kyle Murai, giving the Eagles a 4-1 lead.
The Eagle's Kyle Murai would have a pair of hits early in the game including a 2-RBI double that would put the Eagles up 4-1 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
To begin the 6th inning, the Eagles replaced Ebbs-Canavan with lanky Eric Hegadoren on the mound and the Mariners wasted no time getting to the new hurler. Jesse Mycock started things off with a single and then Zach Downey walked. After a double steal, Mycock scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Varley to make the score 4-2.
An RBI ground out by Nick Dawson then scored Downey and after a walk to Dan Phillips – who was then pinch run for by Dallas Patterson – Brandon Ashford stroked an RBI double that scored Patterson and tied the game 4-4.
Brandon Ashford heads out of the box after stroking an RBI double that would tie the game 4-4 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In the bottom of the inning, the Mariners put ace reliever Mitch Bryan on the hill. Coming in to the game, Bryan had not allowed an earned run in 10 innings of work, and he continued his mastery, giving up a single, but retiring the Eagles without issue to keep the score tied heading into the 7th.
In the top of the 7th, the Eagle's Hegadoren would settle down and retire the side, striking out two in the process. The Eagles would then go to work to set up their first of three chances to walk-off with the win.
The Eagles Jordan Parmar had a hit, an RBI, scored a run and stole 2 bases to contribute to the Eagles win Thursday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Hegadoren led off the bottom of the 7th with a single and after Jordan Parmar reached on a fielder's choice and Zane Takhar was hit by a pitch the Eagles had runners on 1st and 2nd with their leading hitter Murai at the plate. After a double steal put both runners in scoring position, Bryan's run of scoreless innings looked to be in jeopardy.
However Bryan would come through in the clutch, inducing Murai to line out to the shortstop and then Simmons to pop out to second to end the threat, keep his scoreless streak in tact, and send the game into extra innings.
Mariner hurler Mitch Bryan kept his perfect ERA intact as he pitched two scoreless innings against the Eagles Thursday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Following a scoreless 8th inning that was highlighted by 1-2-3 innings by both Eagles reliever Jason Heckl and Mariners reliever Dallas Patterson and a 1-2-3 top of the 9th by Heckl, the Eagles once again put themselves in position to win the game.
In almost an identical situation to the bottom of the 7th inning, after singles by Jack McKinnon and Zane Takhar and a Mariner error, the Eagles found themselves with the bases loaded with one out and the dangerous Murai at the plate.
Mariner shortstop Michael Varley makes a throw to first in Thursday night's action (Photo by Chrisitan J. Stewart – ISN)
Needing to do whatever it takes to prevent the run from third scoring, the Mariners brought in an outfielder to play a fifth infield position. The move seemed to influence Murai somewhat as he eagerly overswung on a pitch and popped out to the catcher for out number two.
Simmons was up next and he lofted a bloop over shortstop that looked like it was going to drop in for the game winner, but a spectacular running catch by Mariner shortstop Varley prevented that from happening and sent the game to the 10th still knotted at 4-4.
The Eagles Jack McKinnon had hits in the 9th and 10th innings to help kepp rallies alive (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In the top of the 10th, Eagle pitcher Heckl continued to throw well, giving up a walk, but then made a good defensive play himself, moving over to cover first for first baseman Kyle Murai who made a diving, possible run-saving play on a Zach Downey ground ball for the third out of the inning.
The Eagle's Jason Heckl would get the win in relief Wednesday – his second in a row over the Mariners – as he would throw 3 scoreless innings (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
For the Eagles, the third time was the charm, as once again in the bottom of the 10th, following singles by Ebbs-Canavan, Heckl and McKinnon they loaded the bases with one out. Once again the Mariners went to their 5-man infield and once again it appeared to work as Hegadoren hit a big hopper to short, but Varley's throw to the plate was high, allowing Ebbs-Canavan to slide home under Mariner catcher Ashford with the winning run.
The Eagle's Tony Ebbs-Canavan slides home with the winning run under a leaping Brandon Ashford (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The win was the second in a row for the Junior Eagles, both of which came against the Mariners, the previous being an 11-10 win on June 12th. The Eagles move their record to 5-17 but remain in last place in the league, while the Mariner loss drops them to 13-14, good enough for 7th place.