Hyde Creek Hillbillies Scott Fisher

The game within the game

HYDE CREEK - Enterprising ballplayer installs satellite dish to bring the NHL playoffs into the baseball dugout

HYDE CREEK — When the Vancouver Canucks’ potential series-clinching NHL playoff game against Nashville Saturday was scheduled to be played at the same time as a North Vancouver Island Baseball League game, local ballplayers were faced with a tough decision.

Would they A) stick with teammates and take the field, or B) join much of the rest of the province and follow the Canucks on television.

Hyde Creek Hillbillies ballplayer Keith Balcke, however, chose option C.

“There’s no way I’m going to miss the game,” said Balcke. “So I put up a satellite dish on the dugout.”

So, along with the usual detritus in the home dugout on a game day — batting helmets hung on a rack, bats, sunflower seeds, drink bottles, cell phones and car keys — a 19-inch, high-definition TV perched with a satellite converter box on a hastily constructed shelf in one corner.

As the Hillbillies batted in the bottom of the first inning, players were able to watch the puck drop in Vancouver.

Balcke’s teammates arrived at the park variously incredulous, bemused and impressed with his act of technological derring-do, made possible by approximately 200 feet of extension cord run from the neighboring community hall and across the grass between the home-plate backstop and the bleachers.

“Is that hi-def?” Hillbillies catcher Ivan Hall asked. “Unreal.”

Ironically, the Hillbillies found out about the Canucks’ first goal of the night, a tying power-play score by Raffi Torres in the first period, after they vacated the dugout to take the field in the top of the second inning.

As they were going through warm-up throws, a cheer went up from a home across Hyde Creek Road from the field.

“Sounds like the Canucks scored,” shortstop Ray Bono said dryly.

In the end, the Hillbillies and the Canucks suffered similar fates. While the Canucks dropped a 4-3 decision, forcing them to return to Nashville with a 3-2 series lead for game six of the series, the Hillbillies fell 5-2 to the Rangers in eight innings.

Winning pitcher Nick Russell, who came on in relief, also scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Rob Kenny in the top of the eighth. Arron Harper then closed out the scoring with a two-out, two-run double.

That followed a pitchers’ duel between starters Ryan Rushton of the Hillbillies (0-1) and Harold Hosken of the Rangers (1-1) that left the game tied 2-2 after the regulation seven innings. Ivan Hall hammered a wood-bat home run to give the Hillbillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, but the Rangers evened the score with an unearned run in the sixth.

This may not be the last time Balcke’s satellite dish adorns the dugout. The Hillbillies are scheduled for a pair of games this weekend, Saturday at 6 p.m. against Port Hardy and Sunday at 5 p.m. against Port McNeill. The Canucks closed out Nashville in Game 6 Monday and are likely to be playing in the Western Conference finals on one of those days.

North Vancouver Island Baseball League

Standings

Through May 11

Team W L Pct GB

Port Hardy 1 0 1.000

Port McNeill 1 1 .500 .5

Hyde Creek 0 1 .000 1

Saturday, May 7

Port McNeill 5, Hyde Creek 2

Rangers 100 001 03—5  6  2

Hillbillies 001 100 00—2  7  1

Hosken, Russell (5) and Le Boeuf; Rushton, Carmen (5) and Hall. WP — Russell (1-0). LP — Carmen (0-1). HR — Hillbillies, Hall (1). 2b — Rangers, Johnson, Harper; Hillbillies, Hall. SF — Rangers, Kenny. Umpire: Dumonceaux.  A — 8.

 

Saturday, May 14

Port Hardy vs. Hyde Creek, 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 15

Hyde Creek vs. Port McNeill, 5 p.m.

All games at Hyde Creek Ballpark

 

Just Posted

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Mount Waddington Transit System celebrates 10th birthday

Mount Waddington buses to participate in summer festivals

Island wide crime spree leads to multiple charges against Cowichan Valley resident

Social Media and citizens of the North Island played a big role in solving the case.

Port Hardy council stands with Marine Harvest

Mayor and council went out on the water to experience local aquaculture firsthand.

Marine Harvest Upper Island Riptide U18 Girls bring home provincial gold

“This has been an extra-ordinary season with a diverse group of young ladies…”

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Group urges Canada to help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany

They’re concerned about Canada’s apparent unwillingness to come to the aid of Monika Schaefer

RCMP seek person of interest after elderly man left with ‘life altering’ injuries

Burnaby RCMP believe a male teen is a ‘person of interest’ in the case

MGM sues Vegas mass shooting victims, argues it isn’t liable

The company argues it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or families of slain victims

Most Read