Cameron Linn pitches for the midget AAA Cowichan Valley Mustangs in an exhibition match against a visiting team from Unión de Reyes, Cuba, last Thursday evening. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Midget Mustangs move into pennant position

Cowichan crossing fingers that North Island can take one from North Fraser

After a perfect weekend on the Mainland, the Cowichan Valley Mustangs are now closely watching the rest of the BC Minor Baseball midget AAA league.

The Mustangs swept their last four games in the regular season and moved, temporarily at least, into first place in the league. They’re now hoping the North Island Cubs can help them out by taking a game away from the North Fraser Nationals this coming weekend.

Cowichan finished the regular season at 33-5, and North Fraser sits at 31-5 with two games left to play. A single loss for the Nationals would clinch the pennant for the Mustangs.

The Nationals had three games left after the Mustangs wrapped up their season. The Mustangs were hoping the South Fraser Giants might help them out on Monday night, but North Fraser won that game 10-4. Now their hopes for finishing first lie with the North Island Cubs.

“We have our fingers crossed and are scoreboard-watching as the South Fraser Giants lost to North Fraser last night and that leaves us needing the Cubs from North Island to win just once against North Fraser on Sunday,” Mustangs manager Geoff Linn said.

The Cubs sit seventh in the midget AAA league with 20 wins and 14 losses.

The top two teams will be tied at 33-5 if North Fraser wins both games on Sunday, but the Nationals hold the tiebreaker, which — because the teams split their season series — is runs allowed during head-to-head games. An error-fest saw the Mustangs lose 23-15 in their first game against the Nationals back in April, putting Cowichan behind the eight-ball.

“No team should ever lose a game when they score 15 runs,” Linn recalled. “We ended up beating them 10-9 in game two of the doubleheader, but unfortunately, the damage was done.”

As they closed out the regular season this past weekend, the Mustangs visited the Ridge Meadows Royals on Saturday, taking the first game of the doubleheader 5-0, then battling back from a deficit to score six runs in the last three innings to win the second game 8-6.

The didn’t need to mount any comebacks against Richmond on Sunday, taking a pair of five-inning mercies 18-0 and 11-0.

If the Cowichan Valley Mustangs are able to hold on to first place in the league, they will go into the eight-team provincial championship tournament in Victoria on Aug. 8-11 as the top seed.

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