Braun’s walk-off hit lifts Cardinals to thrilling win in Final Four opener

It's quickly becoming apparent that the Abbotsford Cardinals don't mind working overtime.

It’s quickly becoming apparent that the Abbotsford Cardinals don’t mind working overtime.

Last weekend, they sparked a first-round series victory over the Coquitlam Reds by grinding out a clutch 2-0 victory in nine innings.

On Friday evening, in their opening game at the B.C. Premier Baseball League Final Four tournament at DeLair Park, the host squad again found themselves battling into the ninth, this time vs. the Vancouver Cannons.

Cardinals starting pitcher Emilio Foden gave his team seven strong innings, striking out five and surrendering just five hits and one run. His Vancouver counterpart Ryan Matsuda also sparkled, striking out six. The lone Abby run in regulation came in the bottom of the sixth, when Daniel Koo doubled to drive in Coleton Besse.

Matsuda was still pitching in the ninth when the Cannons’ defence came unglued – back-to-back errors allowed Tanner Rempel and Joel Van Ee to get on base. Connor Noble came on in relief to face Cards centre fielder Jesse Braun, and Braun came through with a walk-off single to drive in Rempel with the winning run.

Daniel Koo, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Foden, picked up the win.

Joining the Cardinals at 1-0 in the round robin are the Victoria Eagles, whose 6-2 win over the Nanaimo Pirates on Friday was highlighted by a complete game by pitcher Kurt Horne, a solo home run by Brandon Feldman, and two RBI by Mitch Hawkins.

The balance of the tournament schedule is as follows.

Saturday, July 27

10 a.m. – Vancouver vs. Victoria

12:30 p.m. – Vancouver vs. Nanaimo

3 p.m. – Nanaimo vs. Abbotsford

5:30 p.m. – Victoria vs. Abbotsford

Sunday, July 28

10 a.m. – tiebreaker to determine third place in round robin (if necessary)

12:30 p.m. – semifinal between round robin second- and third-place finishers

3 p.m. – final between round robin first-place team and semifinal winner