Vancouver Island’s three midget AAA baseball teams met up for a day of games at the Chemainus ball fields last Sunday, and the Cowichan Valley Mustangs solidified themselves as the best of the bunch at this point in the season.
The Mustangs beat the Victoria Eagles 17-7 in the morning game and the North Island Cubs 3-2 in the last game of the day. In between, the Cubs defeated the Eagles 5-2.
Both teams scored four times in the first inning of the opening game between Cowichan and Victoria, and the Eagles added three to the Mustangs’ one in the second inning. It was all Cowichan after that, as the Mustangs added three runs in the third and fourth innings, then scored six in the fifth for the mercy win.
The Mustangs combined for 14 hits off the Eagles, led by Matteo Iorio, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Cameron Linn, who went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Nolan Fothergill, Hayden Plester and Josh McCann also had two hits apiece, and McCann and Tyler Dobson each had three RBIs.
Getting on base as many times as they did allowed the Mustangs to rack up 15 stolen bases, including four by Cam LeSergent, three by Andrew Strobl, two each by Plester, McCann and Morley Scott, and one each by Fothergill and Curtis Butler.
LeSergent started the game and was tagged for four runs over one inning, but head coach Ken Ramwell insisted they weren’t the fault of LeSergent, who also struck out two batters.
“It wasn’t anything to do with our pitching,” the coach said. “We made some mental errors and they had timely hits.”
Iorio pitched the next two innings, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out five, and Fothergill was perfect over the last two innings, striking out three along the way.
Hayden Plester was brilliant on the mound against North Island, pitching a complete game while allowing just four hits and two earned runs and striking out five Cubs.
The Cubs scored in the first, and the Mustangs answered back in the second when McCann scored on an error by the North Island pitcher during an attempted pickoff while Dobson was batting. Cowichan added two more in the third, with Strobl scoring on a wild pitch and LeSergent on a sacrifice fly by Scott. The Cubs brought home one more in the fourth, but that was it.
The Mustangs cobbled together four hits: one each for LeSergent, Scott, Iorio and Linn. Iorio’s knock was a double, and LeSergent registered Cowichan’s lone steal.
“That was a good test for us,” Ramwell said. “Last time we played them, they weren’t as strong. They were still making cuts.
The Mustangs traveled to Victoria on Wednesday to play the Eagles again, and won’t be in action again until June 17, when they host South Fraser for a doubleheader at Evans Park.
This weekend, Grade 11 and 12 players from across the province will head to Vancouver for the All-Star Selects camp where they will be watched by scouts from many programs, and the Mustangs will have five players in the mix: Fothergill, LeSergent, Scott, Plester and Billy Ramwell.
“We’re really happy we’re taking five,” Ken Ramwell said. “If every team took five, there would be a lot of kids going.”
For the rest of the team, it will be a rare weekend off in the middle of a frantic season.
“It’s a chance to rest and regroup,” Ramwell said. “We’ve got a busy schedule coming up.”