HYDE CREEK — It wasn’t the usual pitcher’s duel when Chris Lamothe of the Port Hardy Cubs and Curtis Carmen of the Hyde Creek Hillbillys squared off in Sunday’s North Vancouver Island Baseball League game.
This duel was held with bats.
And while Lamothe was the big winner on the stat sheet by touching Carmen for a pair of home runs — including a grand slam — it was Carmen who came through with the game-winner when his sixth-inning single went off Lamothe’s glove and into center field to drive home Ivan Hall with the clinching run in the Hillbillys’ 7-6 victory at the local ballfield.
Earlier, starters Jason West and Jeff Tarlier engaged in a more traditional pitcher’s duel. West threw three innings of no-hit ball for the Hillbillys (1-3) before the Cubs’ Lukas Jones broke it up with a two-out, RBI single in the fourth.
On the other side, Jeff Tarlier took the hill for the first time in nearly 20 years and kept the host club off the scoreboard through three innings. Tarlier pitched out of trouble throughout his stint, and twice left the bases loaded, but was mostly pleased after handing off a scoreless game to the bullpen.
“I’ve got to get my curve ball working again,” Tarlier admitted. “It’s been a while.”
Staked to a 1-0 lead, Cubs reliever Rod Romas endured a nightmare bottom of the fourth when the Hillbillys plated five runs. One came on a two-out double by rookie Taylor Galeazzi and another on a fielder’s choice by Keith Balcke, but the other three resulted directly from three throwing errors in the inning. One of those errors came on a routine throw from the catcher to the pitcher that went off Romas’ glove.
“That inning was a nightmare,” said Romas. “Anything that could go wrong, did.”
Lamothe got the Cubs (3-1) within 5-2 in the fifth with a moon shot solo homer off Carmen, but the Hillbillys got the run back off Lamothe in the sixth when Balcke reached on another fielder’s choice and eventually scored on another throwing error to make it 6-2.
In the top of the sixth, Lamothe came up with two out and the bases loaded and turned a Carmen offering into a frozen rope that cleared the left-field fence and bounced across Hyde Creek Road to tie the game.
But in the bottom of the inning, Hall singled and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw from the catcher. Carmen followed with a hot shot up the middle that Lamothe deflected but couldn’t stop as Hall rounded third and scored the clinching run.
Lamothe finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and five RBIs for the Cubs, who managed just five hits.
Hall was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and Balcke scored twice for the Hillbillys.
Cubs 13, Rangers 2
Lamothe, Brayden Demoe and Dave Stewart all homered as the Cubs rolled to a big win over Port McNeill Saturday in Hyde Creek.
Lamothe and Stewart hit solo shots and Demoe added a two-run blast as the Cubs fashioned an 11-0 lead through four innings.
Greg Johnson and Tarlier, playing on loan from the Cubs, scored fifth-inning runs for the Rangers (2-2)