The Abbotsford Cardinals leveraged their last two home games of the season into a huge leap toward a playoff berth.
The local B.C. Premier Baseball League squad swept a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader vs. the Okanagan Athletics at DeLair Park, prevailing by scores of 6-4 and 8-4.
Benji Weiler paced the offence in the opener, going 2-for-2 at the dish with two runs scored and an RBI, and starting pitcher Alex Gibbons authored five-plus solid innings.
The second game of the day was tied 4-4 in the late stages, but with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Matthew Reston hit bases-clearing double to break the game open. Dakota Reimer picked up the win, registering four strikeouts in two and two-thirds relief innings.
The victories boosted the Cards’ record to 20-24, which leaves them three games ahead of the Nanaimo Pirates (17-27) in the race for the BCPBL’s eighth and final playoff berth. With just four games remaining for each team, Abbotsford looks like a solid bet to get in.
“We would have liked to have playoff games at our park – maybe next year,” Cards coach Corey Eckstein said.
“But as long as we get to the playoffs, anybody can beat anybody. Our pitching’s been really good as of late – for whatever reason, we’re either getting no hits or a ton of hits. The consistency just has to be there. But the way we swung the bats (vs. Okanagan) is a promising sign.”
The last two homes games of the season was an occasion worth savouring for the Cards’ graduating seniors.
“The parents were pretty emotional, and so were the players,” Eckstein said. “The first game, I made sure all our senior guys played, and everybody got a chance to get on the field. It was two good organizational wins.”
The Cardinals (20-24) wrap up the regular season with two doubleheaders on the road – Saturday at the Vancouver Cannons, and Sunday at the North Shore Twins.