Abbotsford Cardinals shortstop Luke Cooke applied the tag to Brandon Sonnenberg of the Okanagan Athletics

Abbotsford Cardinals shortstop Luke Cooke applied the tag to Brandon Sonnenberg of the Okanagan Athletics

A’s offensive onslaught ends Cardinals’ season

The Abbotsford Cardinals were swept out of the BCPBL playoffs by their rivals, the Okanagan Athletics.

The Abbotsford Cardinals met a bitter demise at the hands of their rivals, the Okanagan Athletics.

The fifth-place Cards had high hopes heading into a best-of-three B.C. Premier Baseball League playoff series on the weekend, but the fourth-place A’s swept them in two straight games on Saturday, 8-7 and 11-0.

The defeat was difficult to digest for Cardinals head coach Corey Eckstein, in part because his club doesn’t have a lot of love for the A’s. The two teams engaged in a heated regular-season series two weeks ago that featured four bench-clearing incidents.

“It’s tough to swallow,” Eckstein said. “It’s tough losing to a team that you just can’t respect, and it was tough to see our senior guys walk away in tears after the game.

“But you tip your caps to them – they swung the bats better than we did at the end of the day.”

In the opener, the Athletics built a 7-2 lead through five innings, but the Cards battled back to tie. Tyler Krahn’s two-run single capped a four-run outburst in the sixth inning, and after loading the bases in the seventh, Zach Cardoso was hit by a pitch to push Adam Revel across and knot the score 7-7.

But in the bottom of the inning, the A’s loaded the bases themselves, and James Ward smacked a walk-off single to give the Okanagan squad a 1-0 lead in the series.

Game 2 was all A’s, and ended after just five innings via the mercy rule. The BCPBL’s second-most prolific offence rocked Abbotsford pitching to the tune of 16 hits, highlighted by a grand slam by Nathan Ackerman in the top of the fifth. The Cards mustered just four hits against A’s starter Dillon Kakoshke – three of them by Cardoso.

“I’ve been working with these players since they were nine years old, and I really wanted to see them walk away on top,” Eckstein said. “I’ve got to give them credit – they battled back in the first game when they were down, showed a lot of heart and pride. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we had hoped.”

JUNIOR CARDS POISED FOR PLAYOFFS

The Junior Cardinals’ season is still ongoing, and they split a doubleheader on the road against the Whalley Junior Chiefs on Sunday.

The Chiefs won an extra-innings thriller in the opener. Abbotsford’s Josh Harder drove in Joel VanEe to give the visitors a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth, but Whalley tallied twice in the bottom of the inning to steal a 6-5 victory.

The Junior Cards bounced back with a 13-0 mercy-rule win. Leadoff man VanEe went 4-for-4 at the plate with four runs scored to ignite the offence, and Liam Kano-McGregor smacked a bases-loaded triple. Pitcher Emilio Foden struck out six over five shutout innings.

The Junior Cards (25-17, third in the BCJPBL) wrap up the regular season with a pair of home games this week – Wednesday against the White Rock Junior Tritons, and Thursday against the North Shore Junior Twins. Both games begin at 7 p.m. at DeLair Park.