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
Perfect Game coming to Canada in 2024!
Share Perfect Game coming to Canada in 2024! November 6, 2023 10:37 AM PST Nov 6.23: The Langley Blaze, Abbotsford Cardinals and White Rock Tritons are excited to announce the West Coast Canada Challenge hosted by Perfect Game. 4 fields will be used throughout the Pacific Northwest including McLeod Park in Langley, Delair Park…
Perfect Game coming to Canada in 2024!
November 6, 2023
Nov 6.23: The Langley Blaze, Abbotsford Cardinals and White Rock Tritons are excited to announce the West Coast Canada Challenge hosted by Perfect Game. 4 fields will be used throughout the Pacific Northwest including McLeod Park in Langley, Delair Park in Abbotsford and South Surrey Athletic Park in Surrey. Teams from across the west will be split into 2 divisions, 17u and 15u.
To request your invite to participate in this event, please click here: https://tinyurl.com/perfectgamecanada
INTRODUCING THE LANGLEY BLAZE INDOOR TRAINING FACILITY: A GAME-CHANGER FOR BASEBALL DEVELOPMENT
Repost from www.langleyblaze.com: Langley, British Columbia, is about to witness a groundbreaking addition to its sports landscape with the inauguration of the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility in the fall of 2024. This state-of-the-art facility promises to revolutionize baseball training in the region, offering players of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to hone…
Repost from www.langleyblaze.com:
Langley, British Columbia, is about to witness a groundbreaking addition to its sports landscape with the inauguration of the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility in the fall of 2024. This state-of-the-art facility promises to revolutionize baseball training in the region, offering players of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to hone their skills year-round. Boasting a full-size infield, batting cages, a gym, and cutting-edge hitting and pitching labs, the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility is set to become a hub of excellence for baseball enthusiasts.
At the heart of the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility lies a meticulously designed full-size infield, complete with synthetic turf that replicates the feel and playability of a real baseball field. This versatile space provides players with the opportunity to practice infield drills, base running, and defensive maneuvers, irrespective of weather conditions. It is also equipped with advanced lighting and climate control to ensure a comfortable and realistic training environment.
The Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility boasts a comprehensive array of batting cages, each equipped with the latest pitching machines capable of simulating a wide range of pitches, from fastballs to curveballs. These cages allow hitters to fine-tune their skills and develop their swing mechanics without the constraints of outdoor weather conditions.
A fully equipped gymnasium within the facility caters to the fitness and strength training needs of baseball players. Strength and conditioning coaches are on hand to create tailored workout programs to improve players’ agility, speed, strength, and overall fitness levels. This comprehensive approach to physical conditioning ensures that athletes are primed for peak performance on the field.
**Hitting and Pitching Labs**
The Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility is home to cutting-edge hitting and pitching labs that employ advanced technology to analyze and enhance players’ performance. High-speed cameras and motion capture systems capture every nuance of a player’s swing or pitching motion, allowing for precise analysis and targeted adjustments. Data-driven insights are then used to develop personalized training regimens, helping players refine their techniques and maximize their potential.
**Coaching and Development Programs**
In addition to world-class facilities, the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility offers a range of coaching and development programs. Experienced instructors and former collegiate and professional players lead these programs, covering various aspects of the game, including hitting, pitching, fielding, and mental conditioning.
Beyond its role as a training facility for aspiring baseball players, the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility is committed to making a positive impact on the community. The facility hosts community events, charity fundraisers, and youth outreach programs to promote the sport and instill important values like teamwork, discipline, and perseverance in local youth.
The Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility is set to become the epicenter of baseball development in Langley and the surrounding region. With its full-size infield, cutting-edge technology, and expert coaching staff, it offers an unparalleled opportunity for players of all ages to elevate their game. Whether you’re a young talent dreaming of the big leagues or a seasoned player looking to refine your skills, the Langley Blaze Indoor Training Facility has something to offer. Get ready to step up to the plate and take your baseball journey to new heights in this world-class facility.
Fall Ball 2023 – Registrations are Open!
Share Fall Ball 2023 – Registrations are Open! August 29, 2023 9:03 PM PDT Our PBL Teams run extensive Fall Ball seasons throughout September and October (as long as the weather will allow). If you are interested in learning more about each PBL Teams Fall Ball program, please click their individual links below. Please…
Fall Ball 2023 – Registrations are Open!
August 29, 2023
Our PBL Teams run extensive Fall Ball seasons throughout September and October (as long as the weather will allow). If you are interested in learning more about each PBL Teams Fall Ball program, please click their individual links below.
Please also see the following link for the PBL rules regarding catchment areas as you will need to stay within your catchment area.