Team Victoria Battles but falls in extras to Ontario 1 in second game of Nationals

Lanny Burrows would launch a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Mavericks an early 1-0 lead over Tecumseh (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

August 24, 2018, Victoria, BC – The Victoria Mavericks (Team Victoria) put up a tough extra-inning battle, but ultimately fell on the wrong side of a 4-3 eight inning decision against the Tecumseh Thunder (Ontario 1) in round robin play at the 2018 Baseball Canada Men’s National Championship at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Tecumseh’s Ross Barker is congratulated after his sac fly gave the Thunder an early 1-0 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Tecumseh’s extra-inning’s heroics were provided by Matt Sykes, whose hard hit ground ball careened of Maverick’s second baseman Brady Rogers and into left-centre field, allowing Mitch Roy (hit by pitch) to score and give the Thunder the win.

The win moves the Thunder to 2-0 on the tournament after they squeaked out a 2-1 win over Nova Scotia on Thursday.  The loss drops the Mavericks (Team Victoria) to 0-2 and sets up a must win game for them on Friday night at 7:00 pm when they meet Nova Scotia.

Victoria’s Connor Russell was strong on the mound in a must win game for the Mavericks, pitching six innings and giving up three runs on five hits while striking out seven (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Victoria started well against Tecumseh, as slugger Lanny Burrows stroked his second home run of the tournament, a solo shot off Tecumseh starter Joel Pierce in the top of the first to give the Mavericks the early lead.

Tecumseh would respond immediately in the bottom of the frame with an RBI sac fly from Ross Barker and then add two more in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single from Steven Adam and an error by Victoria third baseman Duncan Blades that allowed Mitch Roy to score.

Victoria’s Brady Rogers would double, walk and score a pair of runs for the Mavericks against Tecumseh on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mavericks would score one in the fourth on an RBI double from Austin Russell and another in the sixth, thanks to a clutch, two-out RBI single from Connor Moughtin that scored Brady Rogers (walk). The Mavericks would threaten to score more, loading the bases with two out, but Ontario starter Joel Pierce would get Duncan Blades to pop out to second to end the threat.

Connor Russell got the start on the mound for the Mavericks and after a shaky first few innings, settled in nicely to retire the Thunder without damage in the fourth, fifth and sixth the keep the game tied.

Victoria second baseman Brady Rogers turns the double play against Ontario 1 Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mavericks then threatened in the top of the seventh getting first two runners on base with nobody out, but Ontario relievers Andrew Mullin and Kyle Breitner combined to retire the next three batters in order to get out of trouble.

Tecumseh starter Joel Pierce would go six innings against the Mavericks, giving up three runs on 10 hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the bottom of the inning, Victoria reliever Aidan Goodall came on in relief of starter Connor Russell and after retiring the first batter on a great catch by Charlie Strandlund in left, gave up a double to Cam Goddard, but then got out of the jam to send the game to extra innings.

Victoria’s Duncan Blades let’s home plate umpire Chris Hartley know what he thinks after being called out on a close play at the plate against Tecumseh on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For Tecumseh starter Joel Pierce, he finished the day giving up three Victoria runs on 10 hits, while walking and striking out four respectively.

After Breitner held Victoria off the board in the top of the eighth, Goodall started the bottom of the frame by hitting Roy and then giving up a two out single to Brandon Gignac to set up the Sykes heroics.

Liam Goodall had a pair of hits for Victoria against Tecumseh Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Onatrio 1 will now move on to play a tough New Brunswick squad in a 6:00 pm game Friday night at Lambrick Park, while the Mavericks will face off against Nova Scotia in the 7:00 pm feature game Friday night at Wilson’s Group Stadium.

In other 12 Noon action Friday at Lambrick Park, the Sydney Schooners (Nova Scotia) defeated the Oak River Dodger (Manitoba) 6-5 thanks to a two hit and two RBI day from Sean Ferguson and solid pitching from Sheldon Macdonald who went the complete game, giving up the five Manitoba runs on eight hits, while striking out three.

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