The Abbotsford Junior Cardinals have officially punched their ticket to the playoffs after splitting a doubleheader at home on Saturday.
The Cardinals exploded for three runs in the first and seventh innings to fend off a late comeback from the Coquitlam Junior Redlegs in game one of Saturday’s pair of games.
Abbotsford led for most of game one, and were up 4-2 heading into the top of the seventh, but Coquitlam stormed back with three runs to lead 5-4 heading into the Cards final at-bat.
The Cardinals rallied in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs to tie the game and loading the bases for Matthew Siemens. The catcher hit a single to drive home the winning run and win the game for Abbotsford.
Mike Fitzsimmons had a team-high three hits in the win, with Louis Oostenbrug and Luke Senft also recording multi-hit games. Senft also drove in four runs to lead the Cardinals. Pitcher Ryan Burton, who came on in late in the game, earned the win.
Game two saw the Cardinals offence dry up, as they were blanked 3-0 by Coquitlam.
The Redlegs scored runs in the fourth and sixth innings to seal the win. Abbotsford managed just five hits, with Senft leading the way with two. Pitcher Kevin Kim was solid for the Cards, allowing just five hits over seven innings but didn’t receive any run support.
Earlier this season, Kim recorded a no-hitter when he held the North Shore Twins off the scoresheet back on June 18.
He threw 103 pitches and walked two in that win.
The Junior Cardinals record sits at 22 wins and 15 losses, and they are now in fourth place in the British Columbia Premier Junior Baseball League. Abbotsford hosts their final home game of the season today (Wednesday) at 7 p.m at DeLair Park, and conclude the season with a pair of games against the North Delta Blue Jays on Saturday.
Abbotsford can finish anywhere from third to sixth based on how the final three games go.
A spot in the top four ensures a home playoff date.
The BCJBL final eight play-ins occur July 22 and 23, with the final four running from July 28 to 30 in Victoria.
Abbotsford trailed 2-0 to the Mariners heading into the final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, and rallied to score one run but it wasn’t enough.
Kyle Stewart was the lone Cardinal to score a run, and the team managed just two hits against Victoria. Abbotsford’s trio of pitchers made up of Derick Powell Jr., Brett Jackson and Jacob Cross were solid on the mound, allowing just two runs off of seven hits.
That game was preceded by losses of 5-4 and 8-0 during a doubleheader against the Chiefs in Surrey.
The senior club finished the BCPBL season with a record of 23 wins and 21 losses, and will finish either sixth or seventh overall. Abbotsford’s first round opponent will be determined later this week.
They will likely match up against Langley, Whalley or Victoria in round one.
They will begin the defence of their BCPBL championship in the final eight play-ins, which run on July 15 and 16. The final four championship occurs in Coquitlam from July 20 to 23.
For more information on both teams, visit abbotsfordcardinals.com.