MVP Snyder leads GCFP to NSMFL championship

The top hitter, top pitcher and playoff MVP of the NSMFL led Gord Closson Forest Products to the league title last week.

The top hitter, top pitcher and playoff MVP of the Nanaimo Senior Men’s Fastball League led Gord Closson Forest Products to the league title last week.

Craig Snyder, who claimed all three major individual honours in the NSMFL this year after just missing the hitting and pitching awards in 2015, was outstanding as GCFP swept their best-of-three series against Wheatsheaf to reclaim the league title they last held in 2014.

Snyder pitched seven innings and struck out 11 batters while allowing just one earned run in his team’s 6-2 victory in Cedar on Tuesday, then threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts and allowed just three hits in a 4-0 clincher at Waldon Park on Wednesday.

“He’s throwing way harder than last year,” manager Joe DiLalla said, noting that Snyder spent last winter hitting the gym.

“The guy was already in really good shape,” DiLalla added. “But it shows that the effort you put into whatever you’re trying to get better at sure pays off.”

As a pitcher, Snyder had a 1.16 ERA this season, and his 90 strikeouts were more than twice as many as the next hurler had. At the plate, he hit .480 with a league-high four home runs and 14 RBIs.

Snyder got plenty of support during the final series. GCFP batters combined for nine hits on Tuesday. Trevor Gicas went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a third-inning double that scored the team’s first two runs, and Dave Devana went 1-for-4 and knocked in the winning run in the fifth inning.

Dan Whiteford was 2-for-3 with three runs, Tylor Branzsen went 1-for-4 with a run, and Steve Lingren went 1-for-4.

In the field, GCFP committed one error, while Wheatsheaf had three.

“Our defence was a big part of the reason we won,” DiLalla said.

Both teams had three hits in Wednesday’s game, but GCFP made theirs count while preventing Wheatsheaf from scoring at all.

Most of the damage was done by the Duncan team’s seven, eight and nine hitters because Wheatsheaf pitched around the top of the order.

Jamie Gicas went 1-for-3 with two walks and a run, Jackson Wilson was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk, and Lingren went 1-for-2 with three RBIs. Chris Kline got the other RBI despite not registering a hit.