HYDE CREEK—No Hall? No problem for the Hyde Creek Hillbillys.
Playing without starting catcher and leading hitter Ivan Hall, the Hyde Creek Hillbillys used a balanced offence and strong pitching to top the Port McNeill Rangers 12-4 in North Vancouver Island Baseball League action Sunday at the local ballpark.
Former Ranger Dustin Carmen strapped on the gear to take Hall’s spot behind the dish and proved up to the task, going 2-for-2 with a pair of runs and providing serviceable defense in his first game of the season — and first ever as catcher.
“He’s another Wossite,” said Bill “Bucky” Cessford, Hillbillys co-manager. “We just keep pulling ’em out of Woss.”
Carmen’s brother Curtis, another Woss product, went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for the winners. He also took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and held the Rangers (0-5) scoreless until they plated three runs with a two-out rally in the fifth.
That made it a 5-3 game, but the Hillbillys (3-1) struck back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning and put it away with a five-run sixth.
Tom Cessford picked up the save with two innings of relief and went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, an RBI and two runs. Bill Rushton drove in four runs, Ray Bono scored three runs, and Taylor Galeazzi, Keith Balcke and Joe Leblanc each added run-scoring hits.
Jordan Altmiks capped the Rangers’ three-run fifth with a two-RBI double. The rally started with a two-out walk by Hugh Connon, followed by Ed Hunt’s sharp single down the left-field line and another walk to load the bases.
After another walk to Greg Johnson forced in the first run, Altmiks followed with a deep drive that bounced over the left-field fence for a ground-rule double.
The Rangers added an unearned run in the sixth on a two-base throwing error.
Play resumes Saturday when Hyde Creek hosts the Port Hardy Cubs in a doubleheader of sorts. The teams will make up the final four innings of a suspended game beginning at 4 p.m., then will play a full, 7-inning contest afterward.