HYDE CREEK—The Hyde Creek Hillbillys and the Port McNeill Rangers got a valuable lesson in how to break up a pitcher’s duel during their North Vancouver Island Baseball League game Sunday.
Lose the pitchers.
Adam Dmetrichuk and Dustin Carmen stroked RBI doubles and the Hillbillys maintained their share of the league lead with an 8-4 win over the Rangers. But most of the game’s runs crossed the plate after starters Ivan Hall and Nick Russell departed the mound.
Hall threw four shutout innings for the Hillbillys while striking out nine batters. Russell was almost as sharp in his four-inning stint, though he was touched for three second-inning runs, two of which were unearned as the result of a series of throwing errors.
Things started to pick up in the fifth when Russell had to leave for a personal matter and Hall shifted to the field to limit wear and tear after his longest pitching stint of the season.
The Hillbillys added three more runs in the top of the fifth, capped by a run-scoring double from Dmetrichuk. Rangers reliever Jason Evans, like Russell, was plagued by spotty defence as two Hillbillys reached via error before scoring unearned runs.
The Rangers averted a shutout with an unearned run of their own off reliever Jason West in the sixth. Jordan Altmiks led off with a double and eventually scored on a two-out throwing error.
The Hillbillys started the seventh with four straight hits and scored a pair of runs on a double by Carmen and a single by Dmetrichuk.
The Rangers made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh against the third Hillbillys pitcher, Curtis Carmen. Struggling with his command, Carmen walked three straight batters following a bunt single by Deon Steinhauer. Greg Johnson singled home one run and Altmiks followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4 with one out.
After getting the second out on a strikeout, Carmen issued another walk to re-load the bases and bring up Tyler Berry with the tying run. But Berry’s grounder past Dmetrichuk at second base was ruled to have struck Evans as he raced toward base, and he was called out on interference to end the game.
Hillbillys 8, Rangers 4
Hyde Creek 030 030 2—8 12 1
Port McNeill 000 001 3—4 5 5
Hall, West (5), C. Carmen (7) and D. Carmen; Russell, Evans (5) and G. Johnson, Berry (6). LOB — Hillbillys 6, Rangers 5. DP — Rangers 1. 2B — Hillbillys: Galeazzi, D. Carmen, Dmetrichuk. Rangers: Altmiks. SB — Hillbillys: D. Carmen, Galeazzi, Dmetrichuk. Rangers: Hosken 2, G. Johnson. Umpire — Baker. A — 13.