A thrilling comeback at the Island zone championships in Victoria propelled the Duncan RiverCats into the provincial peewee A baseball championships.
Facing the home team for a spot at the B.C. tournament after splitting their first two games at zones, the RiverCats found themselves trailing 5-0 after two innings. By the top of the fourth, it was 8-3 for Victoria, but Duncan scored three more in the bottom of the frame to narrow the gap. The teams continued to battle, and the RiverCats trailed 10-9 after six innings. The Duncan defence held Victoria scoreless in the top of the seventh.
That’s when things really got exciting.
Graham Stephen walked to lead off the inning, then stole second. Kalan Hammond-Rota singled to move Stephen to third, then stole second to put two runners in scoring position. The next batter struck out, but Colton Steigenberger came to the plate and blasted a liner past the Victoria first baseman for a double, scoring both Stephen and Hammond-Rota to win the game.
“It was all dramatic,” said Clint Steigenberger, who coaches the team along with Jeff Estay, with plenty of support from parents.
Landon Deverill also went 3-for-3 in the game with three RBIs and a great third-to-first defensive play.
That game wasn’t the only comeback for the RiverCats, who started the season with three straight losses, but turned things around in short order and won the next seven in a row.
“Everything came together and they started winning,” Steigenberger said.
Five teams from the Island, including Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Campbell River and Powell River, are joining five from the Mainland for the provincial tournament running Thursday to Sunday in Burnaby. Steigenberger expects his team to compete with the rest of the best in B.C.
“It will be good, tough competition,” he said. “We’ll take our chances and hope to come home with a medal.”