HYDE CREEK—The Port Hardy Cubs blasted Port McNeill 21-2 in North Vancouver Island Baseball League play Monday, setting up a doubleheader showdown this weekend with the league title on the line.
The league-leading Cubs (8-2) square off with the Hyde Creek Hillbillys (7-3) in games Saturday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday on the final day of the regular season. The Hillbillys, the three-time defending league champs, need a sweep to claim the top seed into the July 20-21 league playoff tournament, while the Cubs can clinch the top spot with a split of the doubleheader.
Monday’s game was a makeup of a game originally scheduled for Saturday at the local ballpark. Earlier, Port Hardy downed Hyde Creek 17-6 Thursday to vault into the league’s top spot, and Hyde Creek bounced back with a 10-1 win over Port McNeill to remain one game behind.
Cubs 21, Rangers 3
Jordan Campbell and Russ Taylor combined for nine hits and nine runs scored as the Cubs overwhelmed Port McNeill Monday in the final regular-season meeting between the teams.
Five-run outbursts in the second and fourth innings staked the Cubs to a 13-1 lead and the Rangers (1-11) never threatened.
Ryan Rushton went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and Curtis Martyn and Warren Henderson chipped in two hits each for the winners.
Chris Lamothe picked up the win on the mound and Taylor came on for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to nail down his first save.
Rob Kenny went 2-for-3, Brandon Proc hit a two-run single, and Greg Johnson was 1-for-2 with a run scored for the Rangers. Kenny took the loss for Port McNeill, which wrapped up its regular season and will face the No. 2 seed in the first game of the league playoffs July 20.
Hillbillys 10, Rangers 1
Ivan Hall homered and spun a one-hit complete game in his first appearance on the mound this season Sunday as Hyde Creek completed a season sweep of Port McNeill.
Hall finished 3-for-4 with four RBI for the Hillbillys (7-3), who wrap up the regular season with a doubleheader against the Port Hardy Cubs Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. Hyde Creek will need a sweep to overtake Port Hardy (8-2) for the top seed when the league playoffs commence July 20-21 in Hyde Creek.
Jason West added a pair of RBI singles and Ray Bono doubled home a run. The Hillbillys also got RBIs from Bono on a bases-loaded walk, by Warren Henderson when he was hit by a pitch with the bases load, and by Chad Bell, who reached on an error in Hyde Creek’s five-run first inning.
The Rangers’ scored an unearned run in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit. Jordan Altmiks reached on an error, moved to second on a walk, and stole third base. He raced home when the throw from catcher Ryan Rushton on the steal attempt skipped past third baseman Rob Cessford into left field for another error.
On inning later, Altmiks broke up Hall’s no-hit bid with a clean bloop hit to shallow centre field. Hall finished with 13 strikeouts and walked one in the win.
Cubs 17, Hillbillys 6
Curtis Martyn and Chris Lamothe each launched home runs to pace a 16-hit attack as the Cubs moved into the league lead last Thursday.
Martyn, who also improved to 4-1 with the pitching victory, hit a bases-loaded home run in the top of the third inning — though it only counted for two runs due to the league’s five-run inning limit. Lamothe’s two-run blast capped another five-run outburst in the fifth.
The Cubs (7-2) clinched the win with another five-spot in the top of the seventh, with Jordan Campbell and Martyn each lacing RBI doubles.
On the mound, Martyn struck out 11 batters while allowing four hits and five walks through six innings. Three of the Hillbillys’ six runs were unearned. Russ Taylor pitched a scoreless seventh, allowing one hit.
Joe Leblanc had an RBI double and Ryan Rushton and Richard Balcke had run-scoring singles for the Hillbillys (6-3), who entered the evening tied with the Cubs for the league lead. Tom Cessford went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and a pair of runs scored.
Corrine Fox, the lone woman playing in the league, went 2-for-3 with a walk and scored twice in her second game for the Cubs.