NORTH SAANICH — The hometown Victoria Red Eagles went into the championship game at the 2014 Mosquito A baseball provincials without having lost all summer — a stretch of 24 games (23 wins and one tie).
Their luck, however, ran out on Sunday, August 3 against a team they had beaten five times this season. The final was between the Campbell River Tyees and the Red Eagles, with the north Island squad prevailing, 7-5.
“For Campbell River to win the gold medal game was a real accomplishment for them,” stated Colin Gardiner, the tournament’s director at North Saanich’s Rotary Park. “They had played Victoria five times and not won yet … until it really mattered: in the gold medal game of the provincial championship!”
The event itself went really well, Gardiner continued. Harvey the Harbour Cat joined teams from across B.C. for the opening ceremonies, which also included the national anthem being sung by local singer/songwriter Ms. Maxine (a teacher at Sidney Elementary School who has just released her first CD).
The tournament featured skills competitions like Base Running (racing around the bases, won by Victoria), a Relay Throw (throwing a ball down a line of players, won by Nanaimo), and Around the Horn (throwing a ball around the bases as quickly as possible, won by Abbotsford). The winner of the Home Run Derby, from Richmond, won a beautiful maple bat. Coaches, too, competed to see who could explode the most water balloons with a baseball bat in 15 seconds, called the Bat Splat.
“Nanaimo won with what I consider a world record of 14,” said Gardiner, who added the Bat Splat was his idea.
Victoria was the only team to win all four of their round-robin games over the weekend and won a very tight playoff game against Ladner.
The Campbell River Tyees included some of the boys who had won the Vancouver Island Tadpole Championship hosted at Rotary Park — Field of Dreams last year.
“So they’ve now come down and won big tournaments two years in a row,” Gardiner said. “They’re a force to be reckoned with!”