A sweep of the Okanagan Athletics has clinched a B.C. Premier Baseball League playoff position for the North Delta Blue Jays.
The Jays defeated the Kelowna-based Athletics 7-2 and 5-2 Tuesday afternoon at Mackie Park in North Delta, improving their win-loss record to 19-21. Couple with a loss by the White Rock Tritons, the Blue Jays are now assured of a top-eight finish, and a best-of-three quarterfinal series on the road against an opponent to be determined.
Clayton Sandover, called up from the Junior Blue Jays, pitched all seven innings of the first game to get the win in his first start in the Premier League. He allowed one earned run on six hits, didn’t give up a walk and struck out eight Athletics batters.
William Quito led the offense with a single and two runs batted in (RBI), with Dylan Dahl collecting a pair of RBIs. Noah Or and Trevor Gentles each had a pair of hits.
In the second game, the Jays were outhit 9-8 and trailed 2-0 before scoring five times over the final four innings to complete the sweep.
Okanagan scored once in each of the first two innings to take an early lead, but North Delta pulled even in the top of the third inning. Max Kondratowski singled to score Dylan Dahl, then Marc Ashford scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
An inning later, the Jays took the lead on a Braedon Miller single which allowed Lucas Naidu to score. Ashford then drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the fourth Jays run.
Mackenzie Marquis added the fifth run on a Logan Newman single in the seventh.
Clint Taylor was the winning pitcher, pitching all seven innings with four strikeouts. The two earned runs came on nine hits.
The Jays also split a double header Sunday in the Fraser Valley with the Abbotsford Cardinals, winning 10-5 in game one before losing 2-1.
Taylor paced the Jays in the victory over Abbotsford, going four-for-four with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Quito had three hits with Gentles, Dahl, Miller and Or adding two each.
After totaling 17 hits in the first game, North Delta batters had just three in the second.
Alex Davies took the loss for North Delta, allowing two earned runs on fourth hits and four walks while strikeout out five batters.
The Blue Jays were to play the Athletics twice again Wednesday at Mackie Park (after The Leader press deadlines) before closing out their regular season with a doubleheader with the first-place North Shore Twins Saturday at 11 a.m., also at Mackie Park.