Entering the final weekend of the exhibition season, the Marine Harvest Mosquito AAA Tyees gave the hometown baseball fans a lot to cheer about.
Highlighted by two come-from-behind wins in the final innings of two games, the Tyees won four games on the weekend and ended up 6-0 at home this year.
With two wins over Victoria on Saturday and another pair over Duncan on Sunday, the Tyees recorded an 11-1 record against their AAA Tier 1 rivals: Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo.
In game one Saturday versus the Victoria Eagles, the Tyees’ scored four runs in the opening inning, taking advantage of several Victoria errors and walks. Cole Devlin, Connor Hall, Derek McPhee and Nathan Lagos all came in to score for Campbell River.
In the second inning, the Tyees picked up one more run and then added three more in the four, and four in the fifth. The offensive was led by Hall and Jamie Ingersoll who both hit doubles to the centre field fence. Brayden McClary also knocked in several runs and his bat was hot all weekend.
Pitchers McPhee, Nico Matheson, Dayton Ring, Ingersoll and McClary, combined the with stingy defense held the Victoria offence in check, with Brodie Commerford coming into to close out the 12-2 win.
In game two it was the Eagles getting off to a fast start. After the Tyees grabbed two in the second, keyed by a Nathan Lagos single, Victoria went ahead 4-2.
As the next innings rolled by it was the Tyee defense holding the line waiting for the offense to catch up. A McPhee RBI scored Hall in the fourth as the Tyees’ inched closer.
In the top of the sixth and final inning, the Tyees took advantage of Eagles’ struggles in the field and on the mound. Ring led off the inning with a walk followed by a perfect bunt by Bryn Girvin
With two on, Tyler Downey made it to first on an error and the bases were loaded. Hall then drove in a run, tying the game. McClary added an RBI on a sacrifice to right and with the Tyee’s aggressive on the bases paths stealing and advancing on passed balls they were able to keep moving runners into scoring position and to the plate.
McPhee singled adding another run. When the 3rd out was finally made the Tyees had put six runs on the board to take a 9-5 lead.
Once again Commerford came in to close out the game getting the first two outs as Nick MacGregor made some outstanding defensive plays at first. Having reached his pitch limit he was removed for Downey who finished the game striking out the final batter.
The Tyees started quickly again on Sunday against Duncan. Downey, McPhee, Lagos and McClary scored in the first for a 4-0 lead.
The team went up 8-0 in the second with Commerford, Ingersoll, Girvin and Devlin scoring, but Duncan ralled in the bottom half of the inning to half the lead 8-4.
Despite this, Duncan only managed to score two more through the next four innings as the Tyees’ continued to add runs taking game one 14-6. Three Tyee pitchers combined for this win; Hall, McPhee and Lagos, each pitching two solid innings. McClary was 2-3 at the plate with Downey and Devlin also provided timely hits.
With the sun shining for game two both teams came out hitting aggressively and each collected four runs in the opening frame.
The Tyees added four more in the second inning taking an 8-4 lead, once again walks, a nice hit by Ring and aggressive base running kept the Tyee offense going.
However, Duncan found their swing over the next three innings and the Tyees once again found themselves down as the Red Sox bats exploded in the third and fourth innings for seven unanswered runs, to take a 13-8 lead.
The Tyees responded with three in the fifth on a two-out rally led by a Devlin single followed by a Hall drive off the fence. Lagos followed with a walk, stole second and scored on a McClary single to right.
Duncan came back to score one and led 14-11 after five innings.
With the last at-bats, MacGregor bunted to get aboard, Commerford singled and then Ring singled to score McGregor. Downey and Devlin added key hits, and the Tyees put four on the board to take a one-run lead.
In the bottom half Duncan came to the plate and it would have to be the defense again to hold the lead. Once again it was Commerford on the hill.
After issuing a leadoff walk, he fanned the next batter. Facing the top of the order, Commerford made an out to second on a broken play on a deflected ground ball.
With the tying run on third, two out and the number three hitter at the plate, a hard grounder to shortstop McPhee was scooped and tossed to Ingersoll at second for the final out and another exciting Tyee comeback was in the books.
This weekend the Tyees travel to Victoria to determine seeding for the B.C. finals in Cloverdale, Aug 2-5.