The brothers Varley — Morgan and Mike — wielded some awfully big bats in the Victoria Mariners’ league openers and hope to carry that momentum into this weekend’s play.
Mike, 17, even out-performed Morgan, 18, going four for five at the plate in the pair of wins over Nanaimo, stealing the bragging rights from his elder sibling, who was a tidy three for five.
“That’s a little weird for me. It won’t last, I assure you now it won’t last,” Morgan said with a laugh.
It’s Mike who was doing the most chuckling with his name scrolled across the top of the B.C. Premier baseball League hitting statistics page, first overall after opening weekend action.
“That was refreshing to see,” admitted Mike, who didn’t hesitate about snapping a picture with his brother slotted in three spots behind at fourth. “Yes, I had to take one. It’s a little bit of [rubbing it into his face].
“It was good to see my name above his,” Mike said in a more serious tone. “We let each other hear about it, sometimes.”
Batting .800 two games in, Mike also walked, scored three runs and stole a pair of bases.
Morgan, battling at a .600 clip, had two walks, stole four bases, scored four times and had one run batted in.
“It’s nice to get the pressure off so you can be relaxed through the rest of the season,” admitted Morgan, a fifth-year player who is the longest serving Mariner ever.
The starting Mariners’ shortstop is also a team captain for the second straight year and will lead Victoria into weekend sets in Langley and Whalley today and tomorrow.
“I joke around with Morgan all the time, saying it’s his 19th year,” said Mariners’ manager Mike Chewpoy. “He knows what’s expected of him. He’s our captain, he’s been our captain for two years and he’s not afraid of being thrown into the fire. Be it a big game, small game, [a] game on [the] line offensively or defensively, he’s always there.”
As for the younger Varley, Chewpoy isn’t surprised with the start.
“It’s Mike’s second time around. Opening day can get to a lot of people, but when you’ve been through it, it helps make things a little easier,” said Chewpoy.
“They’re both competitors. Brothers off the field, but also looking for [playing] time when they put the uniforms on. They support each other. It’s a healthy relationship and a healthy competition that they bring to the field every day.”
And they both have goals.
“Chewps definitely is wanting me to perform to the best of my abilities,” said Morgan, who will attend Thompson Rivers University to play ball next season, where he plans on majoring in biology.
“There is a bit of pressure there.
“I’d like to hit above .300 though. I’ve never done that before and as a team goal, I’d like to be top two and definitely get into the Final Four.”
Mike’s goals weren’t as established, but for a reason.
“Coming off last season, it wasn’t great for me, and it was a disappointing end for the team,” he said of being eliminated in the first round of playoffs.
“We have high expectations this year and I’m holding the same high expectations for myself.
“I’m expecting more hits to come. I found last year when I tried to set goals I would get too caught up in them. This year I’m going to try and let my play dictate how I’m going to set my goals and, really, just try and have a good year.”
They’re both off to fabulous starts.
“I’m excited to see how we do against another strong team,” Mike said of facing the Langley Blaze today at 1 and 3:30 p.m. on the mainland at McLeod Park.
Meanwhile, the defending league champion Victoria Eagles — who like the Mariners are 2-0 to start the year — are in Nanaimo today at noon and 2:30 p.m. to face the 0-2 Pirates.