RiverCats tops at mosquito AAA tournament

"Once you're at provincials, anything can happen."

Bryn Battye had coached Duncan teams to back-to-back mosquito AAA Tier II provincial champions in the two previous seasons, but even though his RiverCats had blasted their opponents to smithereens in the zones a week before, he was still nervous as he prepared for the B.C. tournament in Victoria last weekend.

“Once you’re at provincials, anything can happen,” he said.

It turned out that Battye had nothing to worry about, as the RiverCats claimed yet another mosquito AAA title for Duncan.

The RiverCats went 3-1 in the round robin, beginning by beating Cloverdale 13-6 last Friday morning, then edging North Delta 3-2 in a true pitchers’ duel that afternoon. On Saturday morning, they defeated Abbotsford 13-5, and that afternoon they suffered their first loss, 8-5 at the hands of a Campbell River team they beat at the zone tournament, but knew could be dangerous. It didn’t help that the RiverCats weren’t hitting to the best of their abilities in the early games.

“Our bats were a little bit off in the round robin,” Battye admitted.

Even though the round robin went largely as they expected it to go, the RiverCats were on pins and needles once they were done playing. If they wanted to go on to the semifinals, they needed Campbell River to beat North Delta, or if North Delta were to win, for a certain number of runs to be scored.

Rather than watch, Battye went home to Duncan and let his assistant coaches fill him in by text message.

When Campbell River went ahead 10-1 early on, Battye was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Even if North Delta came back to win, the amount of runs favoured Duncan. Campbell River held on for the victory and advanced with a 4-0 record, while the RiverCats were second in the pool at 3-1, leaving North Delta out of the picture at 2-2.

“Those were the top three teams in the province, in my estimation,” said Battye, who had seen North Delta at the last two provincial finals. Unfortunately, with Victoria hosting, the pools were thrown into disarray and one of those top teams had to miss the playoff round.

“Somebody was going home,” Battye said. “I kind of knew we were going to have to go 4-0 to make the semifinals.”

By placing second in their division, the RiverCats advanced to a Sunday morning semifinal against Victoria, a team Duncan had defeated 14-0 at the zone tournament. Victoria wasn’t going to go quietly this time, and the score was tied at 1-1 going into the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Brendan Wilson got on base, and Dylan Battye was sent to the plate to bunt him to second. Battye got the bunt down, but thanks to a fielding mixup by Victoria, Wilson made it to third and Battye was safe at second with none out. That, said the coach, was the “TSN Turning Point.”

Brandon LeBlanc brought them both home with a double to the fence. Two runs after that, they reached the maximum for the inning. Wilson finished up the complete game, and the game ended 6-1 in favour of the RiverCats, who advanced to the final.

“Any time a kid can pitch a complete game at this level, that signifies a good game,” Battye said.

The RiverCats almost got another complete game in the final, a 13-10 win over Tsawassen. Curtis Atcheson came in with a foot injury, and as a result batted lower in the order than Battye would have preferred, but still managed to get the first 20 outs from the mound. Anthony Wilson came in for the 21st and needed just one pitch to induce a grounder to first for the final out and the championship.

The grounder to first was something the coaches had prepared the players for by relating the story of Bill Buckner, Mookie Wilson and Game Six of the 1986 World Series.

“We told them to get in front of the ball,” Battye said. “Don’t let that be your legacy. Dive for the ball.”

Going into the provincial tournament, Battye had raved about his team’s hitting and pitching, but it was defence that won the championship.

“I don’t think any team had a better defence than us,” he said.

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read