Daniel Koo of the Abbotsford Cardinals takes a cut during B.C. Premier Baseball League Final Four action at DeLair Park.

Daniel Koo of the Abbotsford Cardinals takes a cut during B.C. Premier Baseball League Final Four action at DeLair Park.

Eagles edge Cards in dramatic fashion; Abbotsford to play in semis Sunday

The Abbotsford Cardinals' drive towards the B.C. Premier Baseball League championship game took a dramatic detour on Saturday evening.

The Abbotsford Cardinals’ drive towards the B.C. Premier Baseball League championship game took a dramatic detour on Saturday evening.

Coming off wins in their first two round-robin games at the Final Four tournament – 2-1 on Friday vs. the Vancouver Cannons and 4-2 earlier Saturday vs. the Nanaimo Pirates – the host Cardinals faced the Victoria Eagles with an automatic berth to the final on the line.

The game crackled with intensity befitting the stakes – coaches from both teams were ejected protesting umpires’ calls, and when the dust had settled, the Eagles had claimed a 1-0 victory.

Victoria advances to the title game at 3 p.m. Sunday, while the Cardinals will play Nanaimo in the semifinal at 12:30 p.m. The games are at DeLair Park.

“Obviously it would have been a heck of a lot nicer not having to play that semifinal game, to be honest with you, never mind the nonsense that took place between umpires today,” said Cards coach Corey Eckstein, who was thrown out in the top of the sixth inning after taking exception to a call at first base.

“We had runners in scoring position, and didn’t capitalize. A tip of the cap – it was a good game for the Eagles. We didn’t make adjustments at the plate, and it cost us in the end.”

Cardinals starter Jesse McGowan kept the Eagles off the board until the fifth inning, and it was then that Eckstein and the Cards began to grow frustrated with the umpires.

Leading off, Victoria’s Zane Takhar hit a ball on the ground and was called safe at first base, though the throw appeared to hit Abby first baseman Riley Salter’s glove a fraction of a second before Takhar’s foot hit the bag. The Cards were incensed, and Eckstein came out of the dugout for a brief chat with the first base umpire.

Takhar would come around to score after the Eagles loaded the bases with one out. Brandon Feldman hit a grounder that looked like a possible double play ball, but Abby shortstop Matt Strother bobbled it and all the runners were safe. He was charged with an error.

In the top of the sixth, Takhar put another ball on the ground that third baseman Emilio Foden initially juggled, but he came up with a strong throw to first. Once again, Takhar was called safe, and this time Eckstein got the heave-ho after voicing his displeasure. He made sure he got his money’s worth, following the ump into right field to offer a final critique.

In the bottom of the seventh, it was the Eagles’ turn to lose their cool with the umpiring crew.

Victoria pitcher Riley Edmonds, who worked a complete game, hit Salter to lead off the inning, and Tanner Rempel followed by dropping a bunt down the third base line. It was a tough play for third baseman Feldman – the ball squirted under his glove, and Rempel had an apparent infield single. The ball subsequently rolled foul, but the home plate umpire ruled Feldman had touched it – thus, fair ball. The Eagles protested vigorously, and a member of their coaching staff was ejected.

But the inning pivoted back in Victoria’s favour as Jesse Braun laid down a sacrifice bunt, and the Eagles came up with a terrific defensive play to throw out pinch runner Joel Van Ee at third. Edmonds struck out Jae Kim and Coleton Besse to end the ballgame.

In the aftermath, Eckstein said his ejection was about trying to fire up his team.

“Sometimes as a manager, that’s what you’ve got to do,” he said.

“You never blame umpires whether it’s a win or a loss, but at the same time, there were probably four bogus calls tonight that I’d like to see on replay,” he added with a wry chuckle.

In the Cards’ 4-2 win over Nanaimo earlier in the afternoon, Rajin Neger went the distance, striking out four and surrendering just four hits over seven innings, while Besse (two RBI) and Brett Walker (two hits) ignited the offence.

The two teams will clash again in the semifinal, with Daniel Koo getting the start on the mound for Abbotsford.

“We do have enough (pitching) depth, where we have two of our best arms that are fresh and ready to go tomorrow,” said Eckstein, alluding to the fact that Koo has thrown just two innings this weekend while Liam Kano-McGregor has yet to take the mound.


Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

There were a total of 182 deaths of trumpeter swans at Judson Lake over the past winter, according to the Save the Swans website. The lake has the heaviest lead concentration of any known lake, the website states. (PHOTO: savetheswans.ca)
Abbotsford man starts petition, saying lead shot is killing waterfowl in Judson Lake and beyond

Farmer Kevin Sinclair says local lake is ‘poster child’ for swans’ deaths from lead poisoning

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read