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

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

PHOTOS: Port McNeill residents remember the fallen

A huge crowd of Port McNeill residents came out on Nov. 11… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Search for contaminant continues at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Island company ‘blown away’ by support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read