August 9, 2017
By Martin Winstanley
The West Coast League's Victoria HarbourCats are happy to have the BC Premier Baseball League's Victoria Eagles in the same town.
Eagles pitcher Mike Musselwhite took the mound and closed the eighth and ninth innings for the HarbourCats in the first game of the best-of-three playoff series against the Kelowna Falcons Tuesday evening. With 1,720 fans HarbourCats fans cheering every pitch, Musselwhite sat down all six batters he faced to cement the HarbourCats' 8-2 victory in the team’s second-ever WCL playoff appearance.
In addition to his stellar playoff performance, the Grade 11 lefty made four appearances during the HarbourCats regular season, striking out six and giving up two hits with no earned runs against some of the best collegiate hitters in the U.S. and Canada.
HarbourCats GM Brad Norris-Jones praised the young Eagles pitcher, "It is very important that the HarbourCats have the ability to pull up young local players. Mike has stepped up and competed at this high level of collegiate baseball. We have the confidence to give him the ball in any situation."
Premier Eagles manager Charlie Strandlund is not surprised at Musselwhite's success competing against WCL players, "Mike's performance as a high school age pitcher against top Div. 1 college hitters matches the results he had this season against BCPBL hitters. He's a fierce competitor who draws energy from pressure situations to get outs and win games."
Musselwhite, who showed the poise and focus of a veteran in Tuesday evening’s game, admits that his heart was pumping fast but he credits manager Strandlund and Eagles pitching coach Anthony Pluta for his ability to stay focused.
“Coach Strandlund and Coach Pluta have not only helped fine-tune my mechanics, they have shown me how to succeed when the game is on the line,” said Musselwhite.
Musselwhite also expresses his gratitude to the HarbourCats.
“I am honoured to have this opportunity to play at this level and pitch against some of the best collegiate hitters in Canada and the US.”
Other Eagles on the HarbourCats' 2017 playoff roster are Junior Eagles catcher Jayden Cull, and left-handed pitcher Stephen Wade, a 2016 Eagles graduate. Eagles graduates Tyson Abbot (C) and Ethan Skuija (RHP) were on the team’s regular season roster.