In their first year back in the Nanaimo Senior Men’s Fastball League after a multi-year absence, the Gord Closson Forest Products club will be playing for the title.
Despite playing six fewer games than anyone else, the Duncan team finished second in the regular season, then dispatched thirdplace Palladian 5-3 in a one-game playoff on Tuesday.
Craig Snyder started the game on the mound and helped his own cause with a three-run homer in the first inning. Korrey Gareau pitched the last four-and-onethird innings, striking out 12.
Snyder finished the game with two of the Duncan team’s four hits, while Marty Steen and catcher Dennis Ewart had one each. Ewart and Garrett Elliott recorded RBIs.
The Duncan team will face the winner of the other playoff game between first-place Wheatsheaf and fourth-place Baker Supply in Nanaimo on July 23.
Closson finished the regular season with two games against the Nanaimo midget team, which went winless this season. They won the first game 17-0 as Gareau struck out all 15 batters he faced in a five-inning mercying.
In the second game, Closson loaned chucker Rick Smith to the midgets. Smith pitched a one-hitter against his mates, striking out a near-perfect 14 over five innings. The lone hit was a two-run homer by Dave Devana after Bob Court walked. Gareau started the second game for the Duncan team and went three innings with nine strikeouts. Trevor Gicas came in for the last two innings as the teams tied 2-2. "We left it at 2-2 after five," manager Joe DiLalla said. "So the midgets got a tie out of it and we got to face Smitty, which was good for us."
The team will compete this weekend in the second annual BC Cup, which replaced the senior B provincial championships last year. This year’s tournament is hosted by Wheatsheaf in Cedar.
Gareau was also named the league’s MVP and top pitcher prior to Tuesday’s games.
"He kind of carried us all year, and hopefully he carries us again this weekend. It’s been pretty fantastic to have him and Smitty pitch for us this year."