Sports

Pirates earn playoff play-in game

The Nanaimo Pirates completed a remarkable late-season rally and now they can talk about playoffs.

The Hub City Paving Pirates won their last two regular-season games on the mainland Saturday, crushing the North Delta Blue Jays by scores of 13-5 and 16-6, and earned themselves a play-in game for the eighth and final playoff berth in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

“We’re a scary team right now,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “If we get in, I know whoever finishes first; they’re not going to want to play us.”

Saturday’s blowouts were highlighted by grand slams from both Tristan Olsen and Josh Carless-Jones in the second game. Josh Burgmann was 3-for-4 with three RBIs in that one and Shawn Arabsky also had three hits. North Rainey was the winning pitcher. In the early game, Robert Busch struck out nine in a complete-game win and Rainey, Chris Vlaj and Garrett Goodall had three hits apiece.

The Pirates (20-28) play the Abbotsford Cardinals in a do-or-die game on Tuesday (July 22) at 3 p.m. at Whalley.

“I’d play in Siberia right now, with the luck that we’re having,” Rogers said.

It isn't just luck, though. The Pirates have been one of the league's hottest teams down the stretch and the manager said the players have been more confident and that's translated to improved play in all facets of the game. The Pirates also knew that their playoff hopes were on the line every game lately.

"Even if we hadn't have got in, we're awfully proud of the way the guys are playing," Rogers said. "We've really turned it around."

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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