HYDE CREEK—A relay throw from the fence in deep right-center field cut down the tying run at the plate for the final out as the Port Hardy Cubs secured a dramatic, 4-3 win over the Port McNeill Rangers in North Vancouver Island League baseball action at the local ballpark June 25.
The win gave the Cubs (5-2) two one-run victories in a three-day span, both secured on the final play of the game. The previous Sunday, June 23, Curtis Martyn’s two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Port Hardy to a 5-4 win over the league-leading Hyde Creek Hillbillys.
The Rangers trailed 4-2 and had runners at first and third with two out in the bottom of the seventh when Graham Baker launched a drive deep over left fielder Rustin Brown. As Hugh Connon jogged home to bring the Rangers to 4-3, teammate Brandon Proc was waved around to attempt to score from first base on the hit. But Cubs centerfielder Chris Lamothe raced to the fence and fired a throw to infielder Russ Taylor, who relayed it to catcher Rod Romas for a bang-bang tag on the sliding Proc.
Umpire Tom Baker, parked right behind the plate, made an immediate and emphatic out call, and Romas and Martyn, the Cubs pitcher, exchanged high-fives as Proc shook his head and looked at home plate.
Martyn and Rangers counterpart Harold Hosken each pitched complete games and finished with roughly similar lines. Martyn (3-1) worked around six hits and six walks while striking out eight Port McNeill batters. Hosken (0-3) had more strikeouts (9) and fewer walks (3), but allowed eight hits and had two errors committed behind him on defence.
Martyn was the catalyst of the Cubs’ offence as well, batting 4-for-4 and scoring a pair of runs. Romas drove in two with a base hit, Roger Yury added an RBI double and Chris Lamothe drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.
For the Rangers, Jordan Altmiks was 1-for-1 with an RBI double and two walks; Mike Somers had two hits, including an RBI single; and Baker finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
The game was something of a milestone as it featured the first female player in recent memory. Corrine Fox played second base for the shorthanded Cubs — who also borrowed two extra Rangers for the contest — and acquitted herself well. Fox played error-free defence and registered an assist, and, after striking out in her first two at-bats, flew out to right field and hit a sharp grounder to second base in her next two appearances.
The rare Tuesday contest was a makeup of a game postponed the previous week. In other action last week, the Hyde Creek Hillbillys upend Port McNeill 10-4 on June 22, one day before falling to Port Hardy to finish with a weekend split.
The league took a break from play for the July Long Weekend and will resume tonight when the Cubs face the Hillbillys at 6:30 p.m. in Hyde Creek.
Cubs 5, Hillbillys 4
Hyde Creek hurler Jason West (2-1) was bidding for a complete game when he carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. But Hugh Connon and Jordan Campbell both reached base for the Cubs and, with nobody out, Martyn slashed the game-winning hit.
It was the third lead for the Cubs in the see-saw game, which featured solo home runs by Martyn and Lamothe for the Cubs and by West for the Hillbillys. West’s shot in the top of the sixth inning tied the game 3-3, and Hyde Creek went up 4-3 in the top of the seventh when Joe Leblanc reached base off Martyn, the Cubs’ third pitcher, and scored on Taylor Galeazzi’s one-out hit, his third of the game.
On the hook for the loss, Martyn instead became the winning pitcher thanks to his own hit in the bottom of the inning. His relief appearance followed five innings by the starter, Lamothe, and one inning of relief from Romas.
Hillbillys 10, Rangers 4
Hyde Creek jumped out fast, scoring eight of their runs in the first three innings. The top of the order caused much of the damage, with leadoff hitter Warren Henderson, Galeazzi and Ryan Rushton combining for five runs in that period. Keith Balcke provided a pair of RBIs. Leblanc added a solo home run for the winners in the fifth inning after the Rangers closed to 8-3.
Proc reached three times in four plate appearances and scored a run for Port McNeill (1-9).