A difficult season for the Duncan Dodgers ended with a silver lining last weekend.
The 11U AA baseball team lost a friend and teammate early in the season, but used that as inspiration as they battled to a silver medal at the regional championships in Comox.
Dodgers player Avery Oye died on July 12 when he was hit by a truck while riding his bike, leaving his teammates and coaches stunned.
“It was a heavy-hearted season,” said Jesse Davis, who coached the team along with Jeff Olsson and Kevin Mattinson. “The whole baseball community was super supportive.
“It’s something you never want to deal with. It was really neat how the kids rallied behind it.”
Avery loved the game, according to his coach.
“He was a very strong player,” Davis recalled. “He was a smaller kid, but he threw harder than most.”
The Dodgers players wore custom jerseys with his name on them, and got lots of support from the teams they played, as well as from the host Comox Valley Minor Baseball Association.
“It was emotional,” Davis said. “It was something the kids will never forget.”
The Dodgers went on a roll at regionals, winning their first two games — which were scored by bases touched — 20-9 over Nanaimo Black and 1-12 over Victoria 1. The Duncan team edged past Oceanside 12-11 in the first elimination game, then defeated Campbell River 10-1 in the semifinals. Their only loss of the tournament came in the final on Monday afternoon, when they were beaten 14-3 by Victoria 2.
Game MVPs were Nolan Davis, Ben McKay, Kingsley Wilson, Marcus de Lusignan and Marcus Olsson, and Ty Bartilucci was named the Dodgers’ tournament MVP.