HYDE CREEK—”The best defence is a good offence” is a traditional quote most often applied to the game of football.
The Port Hardy Cubs proved it can work just as well in baseball.
After watching the Hyde Creek Hillbillies cut into their early lead with a big rally Saturday evening, the Cubs responded with their own offensive outburst to secure an 11-6 victory over the hosts in North Vancouver Island Baseball League play.
The Cubs (2-0) jumped in front with a five-run first inning, and it might have been greater but for the new league rule that limits a team to five runs per inning unless trailing. They pushed the lead to 6-0 on an RBI single by Rod Romas in the top of the third while starting pitcher Dave Stewart held the Hillbillies off the scoreboard through three innings.
But Hyde Creek got a solo home run from Ivan Hall in the fourth, then put together a four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to draw within 6-5.
The Cubs promptly responded with a five-run sixth inning — again limited by the run rule — to restore their advantage. That was more than enough to secure the win over the Hillbillies, who managed just one more run when Hall drove home Taylor Galeazzi with a seventh-inning hit.
Chris Lamothe, Quinn Mellow, Chris Heslop and Romas each scored twice for the winners. Galeazzi had two runs and Hall had two RBI for Hyde Creek.
Hillbillies 5, Rangers 4
Hyde Creek evened its record to 1-1 Sunday on the second day of its doubleheader weekend, scoring all of its runs in an error-plagued second inning by the Port McNeill Rangers.
The Rangers (0-2) held an early 3-0 lead after Jordan Altmiks twice scored on singles by Nick Russell in the first and second innings.
But the Hillbillies strung together five runs in the bottom of the second, three of them unearned, and held on with strong pitching from starter Ryan Rushton and a pair of relievers.
Curtis Carmen led off the second with a walk and stole second. Adam Dmetrichuk and Bill Rushton each delivered RBI singles with one out, and three of the next four batters reached on errors as the Hillbillies took a 5-3 lead before being stopped by the run rule.
The Rangers stopped the bleeding on defence, but could manage just a single run the rest of the way, when Jackson Taylor drove in Russell with a seventh inning hit. But the game ended on an infield fly out with Taylor stranded at second base, leaving the Rangers winless on the young season.
The season continues Saturday with a Hyde Creek-Port McNeill rematch beginning at 4 p.m. at Hyde Creek Ballpark. The clubs will then take a break from league play for the annual Sointula Invitational tournament over May long weekend.