Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – Island Sports News: After letting a 3-1 lead slip away in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Peninsula Bantam AA baseball team scored 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning to defeat the Carnarvon Cannons 7-4 Sunday afternoon to capture the Greater Victoria Minor Baseball Association Bantam AA Championship.
It was a blustery, rainy, cold December afternoon…sorry, that should read late June afternoon…at Carnarvon Park, as promising early morning sunshine turned into overcast skies at the 3:00 pm start time, and eventually torrential, hurricane like rain and wind that both teams managed to play through for a few innings.
The Cannons sent Liam Catto to the mound to start things off and after giving up a hit and a walk to the first two Peninsula batters, he settled in nicely, retiring the next seven batters and striking out the side in the top of the 3rd to keep Peninsula off the board through three innings of play.
Carnarvon's Liam Catto would get the start for the home team and hold Peninsula to just 2 runs on 4 hits, while striking out 8 in his 4 innings of work (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Meanwhile, Peninsula put their ace Cole Russell on the mound, and he looked equally effective, striking out the side in the first, and striking out four more in the second and third innings. The Cannons did get to him for a run in the second however, as Tyler Rickman led off with a walk and was batted home on an RBI-single by Glen Harrison, giving the Cannons a 1-0 lead.
Peninsula starter Cole Russell was solid, giving up just a single run through 5 innings of work and striking out 11 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Peninsula finally got to Catto in the top of the 4th inning, as Chris Marsden was hit by a pitch and Jeff Calton beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt and were both then driven home on a 2-RBI single by Kalani Sciascia, putting Peninsula up 2-1.
That score would hold up until the 7th inning, as the pitchers, and perhaps a critical base running error by Carnarvon became the story for a few innings.
In the bottom of the 4th, Peninsula's Russell would get into trouble by walking Carnarvon leadoff hitter Robin Dix. He then threw a pick off attempt wide of first base, allowing Dix to scamper all the way to third. Upon rounding second however, Dix missed the bag, which was alertly spotted by the Peninsula second baseman, and upon appeal, was ruled out.
Carnarvon's Glen Harrison beats out an infield single in the 5th inning Sunday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
While Russell then walked the next batter, he would settle down and strike out the next two to end the inning, plus strike out 2 more in the 5th to end his day, allowing one run on just three hits, while striking out 11 Carnarvon batters. Peninsula then brought in Chris Blaskovich for the 6th and he continued where Russell left off, striking out 2 of the three batters he faced in the 1-2-3 inning.
Meanwhile, the Cannons sent Liam Catto's brother Angus to the mound to start the 5th inning and he was brilliant, striking out four of the first five batters he faced in the 5th and 6th to keep Peninsula off the board and hold the score at 2-1 heading into the final 7th inning.
Carnarvon's Angus Catto would pitch the 5th through 9th for the Cannon's and do well, until giving up 4 in the top of the 9th (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
With the wind and the rain having settled down by this time, the game started to heat up. Peninsula began the inning by scoring what looked like a key insurance run, as Sciascia walked and moved around on a nice sacrifice bunt by Wade Post and was then driven home on an infield single by Ryan Gray.
Facing a 3-1 deficit, the Cannons went to work and both Trevor Smith and Rickman drew leadoff walks from Blaskovich. After a fly out, Jonah Hall came through with a single and the Cannons had the bases loaded for pitcher Angus Catto. Catto would deliver big-time with a 2-RBI base hit to tie the game.
Jonah Hall's 7th inning single loaded the bases and kept the Cannon's rally alive (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Carnarvon's Angus Catto watches his 2-RBI single head to left field, tying the game and sending it to extra innings (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
After Liam Catto would fly out, the Cannon's Ryan Scherr lofted a bloop liner to short right field that looked like it was going to fall in for the winning hit, but Peninsula right fielder Ryan Gray mad a great diving catch to snag the ball for the third out and send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 8th, Angus Catto breezed through the Peninsula line-up 3-up, 3-down and then just like the 7th, the Cannons once again put themselves in a position to win the game. After Blaskovich walked leadoff hitters Yusaku Abe and Dix, he got a couple of key outs, but then walked Rickman to load the bases for Harrison. Blaskovich would get Harrison to ground out to the shortstop though and the game headed to the 9th, still tied a 3-3.
Despite giving up the two tying runs in the 7th, Peninsula's Chris Blaskovich was great in relief, earning the win Saturday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In the top of the 9th, Blaskovich would give himself some help by leading off with a double, and then Catto hit Gianni Martin with a pitch. After both runners advanced on a steal, Blaskovich would score on a wild pitch to give Peninsula the lead. Martin would then be brought home on a perfect suicide squeeze bunt by Jeff Calton to make the score 5-3. Peninsula would then put the nail in the Cannon's coffin a few minutes later, as both Sciascia and Post (with a double) would have RBI hits to make the score 7-3.
Peninsula's Chris Blaskovich (top) started the 9th with a double, while Kalani Sciascia (bottom) added an RBI single to extend the Peninsula lead (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Peninsula's Wade Post put the final nail in the Cannon's coffin with this RBI double that gave Peninsula a 7-3 lead (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The Cannons would make some noise in the bottom of the 9th as Hall would lead off with a monster home-run over the centerfield fence, but that would be all the Cannons could muster as Blaskovich shut them down after that to preserve the big 7-4 win.
The Bantam AA Championship was the second GVBA championship final played in the week, with the Carnarvon Riverdawgs capturing the Pee Wee title last Tuesday. The Mosquito and Bantam A finals, which were to be played Friday night, were both rained out and are now re-scheduled for Monday. The Midget AA final is also scheduled for Wednesday of next week.
The 2012 GVBA Bantam AA Champions – Peninsula (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)