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BC Premier Baseball League

Langley Blaze Power their way to BCPBL Championship

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

August 1, 2021, Langley, BC – The Langley Blaze powered their way to the 2021 BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) title on Sunday afternoon by defeating the Victoria Eagles 13-1 in the Championship Game of the BCPBL playoffs at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley.

Langley’s Nathan Kirkpatrick had a three-hit and five-RBI day to lead the Langley offence against the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Led by Nathan Kirkpatrick with three hits and five RBI, the Blaze pounded out 14 hits on the day and broke open a relatively close 3-1 game with six runs in the top of the fifth inning and then another four in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach for the Eagles.

The Eagles Ty Burton slide safely into second ahead of the throw to Langley second baseman Nathan Kirkpatrick (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Tom Poole started for the Blaze and he went the distance, giving up the one Eagle run on four hits, while walking one and striking out five in his six innings of work.

Earlier in the day, the Blaze offensive machine put up nine hits in a 8-1 win over the White Rock Tritons in the first semi-final of the day. Poole was the offensive catalyst in that game, slashing a triple and two doubles and scoring three runs.

Langley’s Jacob Sedun threw a complete game two-hitter to defeat the White Rock Tritons 8-1 in the first semi-final of the day Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Jacob Sedun was brilliant on the hill for the Blaze against White Rock, giving up the one run on two hits, while striking out seven in his complete game, seven innings of work.

Langley centre fielder Jude Hall makes the catch of the year in Sunday’s semi-final win over White Rock (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Blaze were certainly deserving winners of the title. As hosts for the Sunday games, they did not need to win a single game in the round robin portion of the tournament, held Friday through Saturday, to earn a berth in the semis, but they made sure they did, finishing with a 3-1 record in their playoff games, defeating North Delta Blue Jays, the Victoria Mariners and the Royals, while losing their very first game, in a 3-2 squeaker, to the Coquitlam Reds.

Langley’s Tom Poole was an offensive beast for the Blaze in the semis against White Rock, with two doubles and a triple (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

They also had the best regular season record, finishing with a 19-5 record.

For the Eagles, the silver medal marks the end of a very good season for the scrappy raptors, as they went 14-8 in the regular season and then put together a 3-0 run in the round robin portion of the tournament, that was not without its dramatic moments.

White Rock’s Scott Allan does a little dance to celebrate his double, one of only two hits the Tritons could muster against the Blaze in their semi-final on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

After defeating the Okanagan A’s 8-2 in their first game, the Eagles then needed a walk-off hit from Oliver Mabee in their second, to defeat the Whalley Chiefs 9-8. And on Saturday afternoon, with a berth to the semis on the line, they used an eight run fourth inning to overcome a 6-1 deficit to the Abbotsford Cardinals and come away with a 10-6 win.

Victoria Eagle’s baserunner Witt Nevins upends Parksville second baseman Keitaro Adachi at the end of a double-play in semi-final action Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

That win put the Eagles into a semi-final match-up with their Island rival Parksville Royals, who used their own drama Saturday night in their final game of the round robin to defeat the Victoria Mariners 2-0 and punch their ticket to the semis.

Eagles shortstop Tyrus Hall goes to put the tag on Royals baserunner Tyler Kolopenuk during a rundown (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In that game, the Royals used a complete game, four-hit, 12-strikeout shut out from their ace Anson McGorman to get themselves the win.

Parksville’s Breydan Riecker slides happily into third base after driving in one of Parksville’s two runs Saturday against the Mariners (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the Eagles, Royals match-up at Noon Sunday, the Eagles once again scrapped their way back from a 6-2 deficit by scoring five runs in the top of the sixth inning and then held on for the thrilling 7-6 win.

The Eagles Jordon Bond had two hits and three RBI in the semi-final win against Parksville (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Jordon Bond was the Royal killer at the plate for the Eagles, with two hits, including a double and three RBI, while Jack Finn and Owen Luchies pitched two innings each of shut-out ball down the stretch. Luchies also had four big strikeouts, including two in a row to end the bottom of the sixth inning, after Parksville had put runners on first and second with just one out.

Jack Swinton’s pinch-hit RBI would be the difference in the Eagles’ 7-6 semi-final win over Parksville (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

And while the Eagles looked like they might fight back against the Blaze when, trailing 3-0 in the third, Kai Gray singled and eventually scored on an error, it was not to be, as the Langley offensive machine kept grinding away at Eagles pitching en route to the 13-1 win.

Jordon Bond (10) and the Eagles celebrate the go-ahead run against the Royals on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Eagles Owen Luchies would shut the door on the Royals, striking out four in two innings of work to get the save in the semi-final victory (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Sunday’s finals, put as normal a finish on the BCPBL season as it could, given the delayed start of the season because of COVID and early travel restrictions that saw many teams only play one opponent over the first eight games of the year.

The Eagles Jordon Bond (left) and Dylan Brown (right) leap to celebrate the 7-6 semi-final win over the Royals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

However, the bottom line is that for all players involved, many of whom have not had the chance to play meaningful games for a season and a half, just being back on the field, playing a game they love, was reward enough.

Langley shortstop Pierce Radke makes a nice play on a ground ball against the Eagles (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Congratulations to the Langley Blaze on their 2021 title and season. And congratulations to the Eagles, Tritons and Royals on their playoff runs, as well as to all teams in the BCPBL for making the best of the 2021 season.

The 2021 BCPBL Champion Langley Blaze (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

All images from the BCPBL Championship by photographer Christian J. Stewart will be posted at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/f338471608

BC Premier Baseball League

Parksville Royals Deagle and Plant sign with Golden Tide

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It’s a nice way to start the season if you can swing it.

Two Parksville Royals will head into their last season in purple with their September college plans all sewn up. Campbell River’s Ryan Deagle and Courtenay’s Thomas Plant have both signed with the Victoria Golden Tide baseball team of the Canadian College Baseball Conference  (CCBC).

Head Coach Frank Kaluzniak was quick to praise his players as they enter their final season with the Royals. “Great accomplishment for these guys. They’ve been Royals since day one and have shown tremendous and consistent improvements throughout their tenure with the program. I wish both Thomas and Ryan all the best moving forward. They have been a pleasure to coach.”

Thomas Plant, 6’ 1” and 195 lbs, battled injuries early in 2021 and then showed off an all-around skill set during the season. Plant demonstrated a patient hitting approach with break-out power from the right-side as well as grit and execution on the mound. “I have been training with the Tide this fall/winter and signed to play with them next year,” said Plant. “I want to thank the Parksville Royals as they have helped me become not only the ball player but the person I am today. My goals with the Tide are to bring a championship to Victoria while also getting a good education.”

Signing with the Tide caps off a tremendous 2021 for Campbell River’s Ryan Deagle. Deagle, 6’ 2” and 215 lbs, absolutely mashed at the plate this past season hitting .333/.453/.547. Over the course of the COVID-shortened season and playoffs he drove in a team-leading 22 RBI and hit two home runs to go with 6 doubles and 2 triples. Following the season, the team awarded Ryan the Tyler Phillips Memorial award for outstanding performance. “I wouldn’t be the person or player I am now without the help of coaches Frank, Bruce, Kevin, and Russy. All of my coaches helped promote me to colleges all over North America and always answered my questions. When I left for four months to train with the Golden Tide this past fall, my coaches with the Royals were extremely supportive checking in with me multiple times. Playing with the Royals has been a great experience and I have countless memories of my teammates in so many games and on the road at tournaments,” said Deagle. “The recruiting process with the Tide was easy as I trained with them for 4 months and enjoyed their ways of training and practices. My goal at UVIC is to study sciences and play there for one year and move onto a Division I school on a scholarship.”

“We’re really excited to have Thomas and Ryan join us,” said UVIC head Coach Curtis Pelletier. “We have three coaches who are Royals alum including myself so we believe in what the Parksville program is doing. I’ve had the chance to coach the Biro brothers back in the day as well as Connor Russell. I know the focus on development is strong in Parksville and any chance we can get a Royal on board, we’re ready to jump at that opportunity. Royals alum Ethan Dean has had a great fall for us and we’ll be leaning on him come conference to be a front end guy. Thomas and Ryan spent the fall here in Victoria training alongside the Tide and they have shown extreme work ethic and are ready to compete at the next level.”

Royals Winterball kicks off Jan 9 for players Grade 8 to 12. For more information, go to http://parksvilleroyals.pointstreaksites.com/view/parksvilleroyals/news/news_538180

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BC Premier Baseball League

New Look, Slightly New Name for PBL Jays

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We are excited to announce a minor, but significant, change to our organization’s name.

While we pride ourselves on our long standing tradition of developing strong, competitive teams comprised of fine young ball players who work hard on and off the field, we felt it was important to make a minor tweak to our name to more accurately reflect it’s geographical makeup.

The North Delta Blue Jays and the Delta Tigers will now be known as the “Delta Blue Jays”.

We realize that our team’s name can’t encompass every single person who will suit up in the ‘Jay’ blue, however we feel changing our name to the Delta Blue Jays will make us much more inclusive, and better reflect the overall makeup of our club‘s Bantam, Junior and Senior teams.  This will also align us with other programs within the PBL. We will be proudly developing players from all three Delta’s – Ladner, Tsawwassen, North Delta, as well as Richmond and other communities.

This name change also syncs us with our Bantam Prep program, the Delta Tigers, who will also now be known as the Delta Blue Jays.  The Bantam program has been a pillar of success at the Bantam level over the years, and have been an essential partner with the Junior & Senior Blue Jays in the development of these hard working kids, even long before the Tigers and the Blue Jays officially became one in 2019.

We look forward to the continued accomplishments of our Bantam Prep, Junior BCJPBL, and Senior BCPBL Delta Blue Jays –  working with our community’s kids, helping them grow into fine, young adults who will have earned the opportunity to continue playing baseball after their high school years are done.

With our name change, we also felt this would be a good time to refresh our brand’s logo.   We are excited to reveal our team’s new crest, which is best described as ‘a dash of the old, crafted into exciting and new, a tiny bit borrowed – all in our familiar blue’.

Delta Blue Jays – Bantam Prep

Delta Blue Jays – Junior

Delta Blue Jays – Senior

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BC Premier Baseball League

Thunder Roar! UBC Captures first ever BC Junior Premier Baseball Championship

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UBC's Ryan Kennedy celebrates the first score of the game against Whalley in the final game Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Full BCJPBL Championship Wrap-Up

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

August 30, 2021, Surrey, BC – The UBC Thunder captured their first ever BC Junior Premier Baseball League championship on Sunday afternoon, defeating the host Whalley Chiefs 10-1 on a beautiful day at Whalley Athletic Park in Surrey.

UBC’s Lucas Huynh reacts and flips his bat after walking against the Chiefs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Thunder broke open a tense, scoreless tie by scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and cruised from there, using a solid defence and great pitching to keep Whalley batters at bay and to shut down any potential threats before they got started.

UBC’s Levi Soper delivers a pitch in the final game against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Lucas Soper got the start in the final and while he was not 100% perfect, his defence picked him up early, including a perfect throw to the plate to nail a Chiefs baserunner trying to score and he got some clutch outs himself that kept the game scoreless into the fourth.

UBC catcher Rico Domingo puts the tag on the Chiefs Eric Burshtynski on this play at the plate early in Sunday’s final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Thunder used some solid defence against the Chiefs early to keep the game knotted at 0-0 into the fourth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

When he faltered later in the game, reliever Jaron Palaschuk stepped in to get out of an initial jam and then went the rest of the way to get the final out and begin the celebration.

UBC’s Jaron Palaschuk (left) is congratulated by Freddie Sale after getting UBC out of a jam late in the final against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Thunder, who finished the regular season with one of the best records in the BCJPBL (21-15), had a bit of a scare en route to the finals, winning a pair of close and tense games in the round robin portion of their tournament Friday, including a 3-1 win over the White Rock Tritons and then holding on to defeat a pesky Victoria Eagles team 3-2.

UBC’s Ryan Kennedy catches North Shore’s Cam McLeod in a rundown in the semi-final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

That was enough to earn them a first place seed and a re-match with White Rock on Saturday in the ultimate play-in game in their pool. White Rock, who had beaten the Eagles 12-9 Friday, earned the re-match by beating the Eagles again Saturday, this time by a close 5-3 score.

The Twins Cam McLeod slides safely into second ahead of the throw to UBC’s Ryan Hsu during the semi-final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the play-in game, the Thunder dominated, cruising to a fast 7-0 win and moving them into Sunday’s semi-finals against the North Shore Twins. The Twins earned their way into the semis thanks to a pair of nail-biting round robin wins over the Victoria Mariners (5-4) and the Chiefs (7-6).

They would not have the same luck against the Thunder however, as UBC would score runs in each of the first four innings and cruise to a relatively easy, 13-hit 7-4 win.

Twins left fielder Declan Barry makes a valiant effort for this hit in the semis against UBC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Relatively easy because starter Freddie Sale went the distance and kept the Twins at bay, allowing the four runs on just seven hits while striking out three.

UBC’s Freddie Sale had a complete game win over North Shore in the semi-finals Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For the Chiefs, their route to the finals, was straightforward because as hosts, they had a bye to the semi-finals. They did play spoilers early though, defeating the always strong Langley Blaze 6-4 on Friday – a loss that combined with the Blaze’s 4-3 loss to the Mariners knocked them out of contention – before dropping the 7-6 decision to the Twins and an 8-3 decision to the Mariners.

Whalley’s Parkor Sarai (33) and Dio Gama (34) head around the bases en route to scoring on a triple from Ryan Holford in the first semi-final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Chief’s Ryan Holford strokes a two-RBI triple in the semi-final against the Pirates (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the semis, the Chiefs met up with the surprising Mid-Island Pirates (16-20 in the regular season), who in perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament, defeated the (26-8) Coquitlam Reds 3-0 Saturday night in the deciding game of the Pool B round robin to earn their way into the final four.

Whalley reliever Marcus Siemens was solid in relief against the Pirates in the first semi-final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

 

Whalley second baseman Lleyton Anselmo reacts after scoring against the Pirates on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

It appeared in Sunday’s highly emotional semi-final that the Pirates magic would continue, as they held a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning, however the Chiefs would stage an amazing comeback, scoring six runs in the top of the inning and then blanking the Pirates in the bottom half, to escape with the 8-4 win.

The Pirates had plenty to celebrate for most of the game Sunday as they took a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Pirates Trevor Foley does his best Freddie Mercury impression after a double against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the finals, UBC’s Soper and the Chief’s Dowon Kim went toe-to-toe through the first few innings, both teams helping their pitchers out with solid defence, until Kim seemed to run out of gas in the bottom of the fourth, an inning that just seemed would never end, as the Thunder kept finding ways to score.

Whalley second baseman Lleyton Anselmo looks for the call after putting the tag on the Pirate’s Graham Stephen on this play at second in the first semi-final Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Whalley would finally break the goose-egg with a run in the fifth inning, but it would not be enough as the Thunder would add another in each of the fifth and sixth innings to close out the 10-1 win.

The Chief’s Kai Scheck was a key hitting cog for the Chiefs in their route to Sunday’s final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Like the Premier league finals held over the August long weekend, Sunday’s Junior finals, put as normal a finish on the season as it could, given the delayed start of the season because of COVID and early travel restrictions that saw many teams only play one opponent over the first eight games of the year.

UBC’s Lucas Huynh celebrates a hit by catcher Rico Domingo during the final against Whalley (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

However, the bottom line is that for all players involved, many of whom have not had the chance to play meaningful games for a season and a half, just being back on the field, playing a game they love, was reward enough. This was evidenced by one Thunder player overhead on the bench just prior to the completion of the finals, “I’m so pumped! We’ve waited two years for this boys!”

The UBC Thunder celebrate their win as Whalley’s Kai Scheck (25) and Head Coach David Hadlow (64) walk off the field (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Congratulations to the UBC Thunder on their 2021 Junior title and season. And congratulations to the Chiefs, Pirates and Twins on their playoff runs, as well as to all teams in the BCJPBL for making the best of the 2021 season.

The 2021 BC Junior Premier League Champions UBC Thunder (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

All photos from the Junior Premier Semi-Finals and Final, plus a couple of round robin games on Saturday will eventually find their way to Christian J. Stewart’s web site at https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/jpbl2021

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