The Prince George Jepson Petroleum Knights and Cowichan Valley Mustangs will put their undefeated records on the line today when they meet in the BC Minor Baseball bantam double-A championship at high noon at Nechako Park.
The Knights advanced with a 20-9 six-inning semifinal victory over the Tri City Thunder this morning, while the Mustangs dispatched the North Langley Trappers 19-5 in five innings in the other semifinal.
Noah Lank earned the win, allowing eight hits and nine runs with six strikeouts in four innings of work. James Yandeau pitched two innings of relief.
Parker McBurnie hit 2-for-5 and drove in five runs for Prince George. Logan Dreher went 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI. Tyson Ramsay also had a big day at the plate with two hits and three RBI.
Down by a run to start their half of the first inning, the Knights answered with eight runs in the inning to jump ahead 8-1. Flynn Kovats walked three of the first four Prince George batters and with Chase Martin, Dreher and Brenden Gaboury aboard, McBurnie delivered a three-run double. He later scored on a wild pitch.
After a couple more walked Knights, Graham Stack came into to relieve Kovats and Ramsay greeted him with a ground-ball single that scored Yandeau, and on the same play Caleb Poitras noticed Graham looking the other way with the ball in his glove and stole home.
Martin, with his second at-bat of the inning, hit a grounder down the third base line to bring in the seventh Knights’ run and with the bases loaded Dreher was ht by Stack’s pitch.
The Thunder got one back in the second inning and Stack sat the Knights down in order in their half of the inning. Tristan Hickson then hit a two-run home run off Noah Lank in the third inning, which made it 8-4. But the Knights had an answer for that, scoring six runs in the third. A single from Preston Weightman and a double from Dreher prompted a pitching change which brought Gabe Powell in. Gaboury hit an RBI single and after Lank and Yandeau walked the bases were loaded for Poitras. He hit a long fly ball that dropped put of the glove of left fielder Brody Klinck and one more run came in.
Ramsay then delivered a run-scoring single and Lucas Langevin’s hit to second base bounced into the outfield to score two more. Ramsay increased the lead to 15-4 when Powell missed a check-throw to third base and the ball rolled into the outfield.
Elliot Howker started the fifth inning with a sol home run and with Thunder baserunner Derick DeVera on base, Tristan Hickson hit a two-run dinger. Tri-City rallied with two more runs when Powell drove in one with a single and Kai Rownsley hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. But the comeback attempt ended when Chase Doucette was gunned down by Gaboury trying to steal second.
Gaboury hit his third home run of the tournament to start the Knights in the fifth inning and they continued to get baserunners on in the sixth. Martin had already batted in a run and Dreher was on with a bases-loaded walk for the 18th Knights’ run when, with just one out, McBurnie’s deep flyout to left field ended the game. Weightman and Dreher tagged and scored, creating an 11-run gap to enact the mercy rule.
Over at the other ball park, Dawson Bell notched the victory on the mound for the Mustangs, who plated six of their first seven batters in the first inning for a 6-0 lead. The scored three more in the second inning, four in the third and finished with another six-run inning in the fourth. Braden Scott took the loss for the Trappers.
Cowichan Valley won its pool with a 4-0 record, equal to that of the Knights. The teams have played each other twice this year and each time the Mustangs came out on top.
Poitras is scheduled to get the start for Prince George.