Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – Island Sports News: The Peninsula Minor Baseball Association captured their third 2012 Greater Victoria Baseball Association (GVBA) Division championship Wednesday, as their Midget AA team received an outstanding pitching performance from Murphy McEachern to defeat the Carnarvon Nationals 5-1 at Rotary Park in Sidney.
Earlier in the week, the Peninsula Red Sox captured the Mosquito title, with a 10-7 win over Gordon Head and last Saturday, the Bantam AA squad won an extra inning thriller in less than ideal conditions, defeating the Carnarvon Cannons 7-4.
Peninsula starting pitcher Murphy McEachern would have an outstanding game, allowing just a single run in 6 and 1/3 innings pitched while striking out ten (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
The trifecta Peninsula win on Wednesday came courtesy of an outstanding pitching performance by their starting pitcher McEachern – a regular in the infield last year with the Victoria Eagles Junior Premier team – who allowed the one Carnarvon run on six scattered hits and just 2 walks, while striking out ten.
McEachern retired ten in a row after allowing a lead-off single to lead Peninsula to their win (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In fact, after allowing a leadoff single to Carnarvon's Brent Johnson to start the game, McEachern retired the next ten Carnarvon batters, before allowing back-to-back, one-out singles to Tayler Gibbs-Bruce and Matthew Hindi in the bottom of the fourth inning. He would then pitch his way out of that jam, getting an out on the bases, and then a strike-out to end the inning.
While McEachern was enjoying his early game success, Carnarvon starter Leo Mckee-Reid was also doing well early, retiring the side 1-2-3 in the first and pitching out of a bit of a jam in the second to keep the score tied 0-0 at that point.
Carnarvon starter Leo McKee-Reid started strong Wednesday with 2 scoreless innings against Peninsula (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In the top of the third inning, a minor controversy may have swayed the baseball karma Peninsula's way. After an initial strikeout and then a 2-2 count to the current batter, Peninsula coach Brad Morrison challenged that Carnarvon was batting out of turn.
Normally in that situation, since the second batter at the plate – who it was assumed was the incorrect batter – had not yet completed his at bat, the proper batter would normally replace him and assume the count. However in this case, home plate umpire Karl Rayment ruled the batter out for the second out of the inning, much to the dismay and confusion of the Carnarvon coaches and parents.
After a confusing batting out of order call in the third and a player ejection for arguing balls and strikes in the 6th, home plate umpire Karl Rayment issued warnings to both benches including Peninsula coach Brad Morrison (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Whatever the case – batting out of order calls are notoriously one of the most confusing calls to figure out in baseball – the mood seemed to change and after McEachern struck out the last batter to end the inning, Peninsula's Kade Russell led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stolen base and was then brought home on a base hit by Nicky Mar and Peninsula had the first lead of the game 1-0.
Peninsula's Nicky Mar heads to first after a base hit that would score the first run of the game (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Peninsula's Nicky Mar is tagged out in a run-down by Carnarvon third baseman Tyler Lee (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
While they would fail to score any more in that inning, they would strike again in the bottom of the fourth when they took advantage of three Carnarvon errors and a couple of hits by Jordan Cooper and Matt Donison (a 2-RBI single) to score three more runs and increase their lead to 4-0.
Peninsula's Ben Hickman slides safely under Carnarvon second baseman Tyrus Sleighthome in the 4th inning Wednesday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Carnarvon's Matthew Hindi makes a nice running catch in the 4th inning Wednesday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
In the top of the fifth inning, the Nationals would get on the board as Johnson would reach on his second hit of the game and then be brought home on a sacrifice fly by Alex Niketas. On that play, Peninsula left fielder John McKenzie would make a great diving catch for the out.
Carnarvon's Brent Johnson, who would later score the National's only run – slides into second as the ball gets away from Peninsula's Matt Donison (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
That would be it for Carnarvon and after Peninsula added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI triple by Donison, it was left to McEachern to close out the game. After a leadoff single and a one-out walk however, McEachern ran out of gas and it was left to closer Ben Hickman to get it done. And he did, retiring the final two batters to end the game and secure the 5-1 championship win for Peninsula.
With an earlier 2-RBI single and this 6th inning RBI-triple, Peninsula's Matt Donison had good reason to smile Wednesday night (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Peninsula closer Ben Hickman reacts after getting the final out Wednesday, then jumps into the arms of his catcher to celebrate the win (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
This was the final GVBA Championship for the season and as mentioned earlier, the third for the Peninsula Minor Baseball Association. "I am very pleased at our success this year at all the levels" said Peninsula President Dave Swinton. "Little old Peninsula and here we are with three championships under our belt this year. I'm very proud of our kids and coaches and their success this season."
The 2012 GVBA Midget AA Champions – Peninsula Minor Baseball
The GVBA season now moves into summer mode with a number of summer all-star teams in action over the next two months. Stay tuned for more as the season progresses.
See all of Christian J. Stewart's images from this game HERE.