North Shore Twins capture BCJPBL title

 Matt VanSnellenberg and his North Shore teammates pounded out 13 hits en route to a 7-5 win over the UBC Junior Thunder in the BC Junior Premier Baseball League Championship game Sunday in Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Matt VanSnellenberg and his North Shore teammates pounded out 13 hits en route to a 7-5 win over the UBC Junior Thunder in the BC Junior Premier Baseball League Championship game Sunday in Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

July 30, 2017

By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The North Shore Twins seemed to have to wait an eternity to see who they were playing in the 2017 BC Junior Premier Baseball League (BCJPBL) championship game Sunday in Victoria, but the layoff did not seem to matter, as the Twins would come out swinging, scoring six first inning runs and then hanging on for a 7-5 win over the UBC Jr. Thunder to claim the title at Lambrick Park in Victoria.

The delay in determining their final opponent came about because of a three-way tie for third place following the round robin between the host Victoria Eagles, North Delta Blue Jays and UBC Junior Thunder that necessitated two additonal tie-breaking games, one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning.

North Delta would defeat Victoria 11-10 Saturday night in a walk-off and then the Thunder would defeat the Blue Jays 4-3 with a dramatic walk-off home run in the Sunday morning game to advance and play the Tritons in the 1:00 p.m. Sunday semi-final.  The Thunder would then surprise the White Rock Tritons, thumping them 15-4 in the semi-final, to advance to the Championship game against North Shore (see game summaries below).

 A two-run bomb in the first inning by the Twins Lucas Yang was one of eight hits in the inning, as the Twins jumped into a 6-1 lead after one (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

A two-run bomb in the first inning by the Twins Lucas Yang was one of eight hits in the inning, as the Twins jumped into a 6-1 lead after one (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In Sunday’s final, the Thunder looked like they would continue their Sunday magic, as they got to Twins starter Matt Wiseman for a run in the top of the first inning when Angus Pegg would single, be moved to third on a double from Eli Saul and then score on a ground out by Carson Thornley.

That did not seem to phase the hard-hitting Twins, as they beat up on UBC starter Winston Wong for seven hits and six runs in the bottom of the inning, the biggest of which was a two-run homer over the left field fence from Lucas Yang that almost flew into the senior men’s diamond, a good 50 feet beyond the fence.

The Twins could not replicate their first inning power after that however, as the Thunder’s Cason Black, who came in to relieve with two outs in the first, held them in check for the next three innings, giving up just another run in the fourth and Trew Petersen kept them scoreless for the next two innings after that.

 The Twins Gareth Wintjes was one of four players to have a two-hit day in the championship against UBC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Twins Gareth Wintjes was one of four players to have a two-hit day in the championship against UBC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That solid relief pitching gave the Thunder a chance to chip back into the game, as they would score a pair of runs in the top of the second and one each in the top of the fifth and sixth to give their fans some hope.

It would not be enough however, as the Twins sent closer Sam VanSnellenberg to the mound for the final two innings and he held the Thunder to just a hit while striking out three and pitching a 1-2-3 seventh to close out the win and get the save, sending the Twins on to the field in celebration.

 Twins closer Sam Van Snellenberg shut the Thunder down over the final two innings to close out the 7-5 win for North Shore (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Twins closer Sam Van Snellenberg shut the Thunder down over the final two innings to close out the 7-5 win for North Shore (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Twins' 13-hit attack was paced by four different players with two hits each including Yang, Thomas Curalli, Damon Hutchings and Gareth Wintjes.

For the Thunder, Saul continued his busy day with another two-hit effort, finishing his day going 5 for 9 over the three games the Thunder played. Aidn Perry would also double and have a pair of RBIs, while Vic Domingo would reach three times on walks, scoring once.

 The 2017 BCJPBL Champion North Shore Twins (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The 2017 BCJPBL Champion North Shore Twins (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

With the Twins win, it marks the first time in PBL history that a team in both the Premier League and the Junior Premier League has won both the League Title and the Playoff Championship in the same year.  A week ago, the Premier Twins won the PBL Championship after also winning the 2017 League title.

Other Games Sunday
Qualifying Game 2: North Delta vs UBC Junior Thunder

Eli Saul hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the UBC Junior Thunder a dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory over the North Delta Blue Jays in a tie-breaking qualifier game Sunday morning at Lambrick Park.

 UBC Thunder’s Eli Saul (centre no helmet) jumps on to home plate among his awaiting teammates after hitting a two-run home run to win Sunday morning’s qualifier game against North Delta (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

UBC Thunder’s Eli Saul (centre no helmet) jumps on to home plate among his awaiting teammates after hitting a two-run home run to win Sunday morning’s qualifier game against North Delta (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Blue Jays, who had walked-off the Victoria Eagles on Saturday night in the first qualifying game, looked to be in a solid position to advance into the semi-finals, as they received a fantastic starting pitching performance from change-up specialist Sean Sasaki who held the Thunder to just two runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out six over his six innings of work.

He was replaced in the seventh by closer Reid Dawson who immediately got into trouble by walking lead-off hitter Sam Black.  After a fielder’s choice out, Saul came to the plate and launched the first pitch he saw into the breeze and watched it carry off the scoreboard to give the Thunder the dramatic win.

In addition to Saul’s dramatics, the Thunder’s Carson Thornley contributed a two-hit day with a run scored, while Vic Domingo had a hit and an RBI to pace the UBC offence.

For North Delta, Sasaki, hitting in the leadoff spot, had a three-hit morning, including a double, with a run scored, while Cam Houle and Peter Broderick contribute two hits to the losing effort.

On the mound, Thunder starter Saul, gave way to Trew Petersen after five innings of work and Petersen, who held the Thunder to just a single hit over the final two innings, gets credited with the win in relief.  Dawson takes the tough loss for the Blue Jays.

Semi-Final: White Rock Tritons vs UBC Thunder

The UBC Thunder used base hits from ten different players and 15 hits overall to roll to a 15-4 mercy-rule win over the White Rock Tritons in semi-final action at the 2017 BC Junior Premier Baseball League Provincials at Lambrick Park in Victoria.

For the Thunder, their storybook day continued, after they needed a walk-off two run home run from Eli Saul to defeat North Delta 4-3 in a tie-breaking qualification game Sunday morning to advance to the semi-final against White Rock.

The Thunder used their momentum from that game to jump on White Rock starter Noah Bryerton for three runs in the first inning, keyed by another big hit from Saul, this time a two-RBI double that scored Angus Pegg and Sam Black.

After White Rock would score twice in the second, the Thunder would strike for three more in the third and two more in the fifth to open up a comfortable lead.

White Rock would score one each in the fourth and fifth, but two more runs for White Rock in the fifth and seven in the sixth would put the game away.

Vic Domingo would key the Thunder attack with a pair of hits, a walk and three RBIs.  Saul would finish with a pair of hits, two runs scored and two RBIs, while Matthew Suarez would add two hits and two RBIs to the mix.  Trew Petersen would also have a double and three RBIs.

 The Thunder’s Sam Black would be one of five players with a two-hit day against White Rock (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Thunder’s Sam Black would be one of five players with a two-hit day against White Rock (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For White Rock Jakob Armitage would have a three-hit day with an RBI, while Ewen Hall would have two hits and two runs scored and Holden Cumiskey would have a double and an RBI in the losing effort.

On the mound, Thunder starter Jackson Flemons would get the win going five strong innings and giving up one earned run on nine hits, while walking four and striking out three.  Cason Black closed off the game with a perfect 1-2-3 inning.

For White Rock, Breyerton takes the loss, going just three innings, giving up six runs on eight hits, while walking two.  Connor Schneider and Ryan Dauphinee saw action in relief.