Held hitless for six innings, the Victoria Eagles put their rally caps on to steal a 5-4 win from the visiting Parksville Royals in the opener of a Saturday doubleheader at Lambrick Park.
The Eagles then completed the sweep with an impressive 8-2 victory to start the B.C. Premier Baseball League season 2-0.
Royals' starting pitcher, Clayton Isherwood a member of the national junior team took a no-hitter and a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning of Game 1 and watched it unravel.
"It was going pretty good till that last inning, and we kind of fell apart. It's disappointing," said Isherwood, who remained in shock 20 minutes after the gritty Eagles' comeback win.
Victoria's R.J. Forbes beat out a grounder to third-baseman Liam Ballance, who then committed an error on Vinny Martin's grounder to give the Eagles runners on first and second with no outs. Brandon Feldman tripled down the first-base line to cut the Parksville lead to 4-2 and make it interesting.
Isherwood claimed his 10th strikeout before Ballance, a Grade 9 player with the Royals, dropped a pop-up on the foul side of third that gave the Eagles even further life.
Gobind Sall walked, then gave way to pinch-runner Will Wild. Isherwood recorded his second out on a pop-up but then surrendered an RBI single to right by Alex Hendra-Brown to make it 4-3.
Jesse Thomson was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Royals centrefielder Sam Visona then erred on what looked to be a routine fly ball by Sam Stevenson to allow Wild and Hendra-Brown to plate the tying and winning runs.
"Baseball is a funny game. You keep putting the ball in play against teams, and things can happen," said Eagles manager Gautam Srivistava. "[Isherwood] mowed us down early and had a lot of strikeouts, but the kids didn't give up.
"It's nice to get this first win early. Last year, we waited a while for it. This way they can get that hunger early and learn how to win. That way it'll make the season go a lot smoother."
It was ultra smooth for Isherwood until the seventh inning. The lefty benefited from a three-run fifth inning as T.R. Doty doubled then scored on Keller Anderson's single. A throwing error scored Anderson to make it 2-0, and Mackenzie Parlow singled to plate Blake Heemskerk for the third run.
Eagles pitcher Mackenzie Catto walked in the fourth run in the seventh to make it that much more difficult for Victoria, which refused to fold.
"I think we were emotionally down, but getting that first guy on base, in any inning, certainly helps," said Srivistava. "Baseball is a funny game momentum-wise. Once you get a couple of guys on, anything can happen. Momentum can shift, and luckily it shifted in our favour."
In Game 2, the Eagles scored six runs in the first inning and Brett Hull earned the victory, pitching five innings. Daniel Bednarski, who pitched to one batter, was credited with the win in Game 1.
Elsewhere, the Victoria Mariners earned a split in Nanaimo against the Pirates, winning 3-2 in 12 innings in the first, then dropping an 8-3 result in the second. Erik Phillips picked up the win for the Mariners, pitching 42â3 innings. Nanaimo's winning pitcher in Game 2 was Luke Skingle.
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