The Victoria Eagles took advantage a strong pitching staff to win their best-of-three playoff series with the North Delta Blue Jays in the minimum two games.
The Blue Jays fell 4-0 and 3-1 in the provincial capital Saturday, and were eliminated from the B.C. Premier Baseball League (PBL) playoffs.
The Eagles sent two of the top pitchers in the league against North Delta, combining to hold the Jays to just seven hits and one run over the two games.
Ethan Skuija got the start in the first game, after a regular season that saw him tie for second in the PBL with nine wins, and rank third with a 1.39 earned run average and sixth with 65 strikeouts.
The Jays managed just two hits off of Skuija. He earned the shutout by giving up just one walk while striking out three Blue Jays. Only four Blue Jays managed to get on base, with three double plays by Victoria keeping North Delta from getting a runner to third base.
Daniel Gosselin pitched five innings as the Jays starter, allowing the three earned runs on five hits and five walks while striking out five Eagles batters in five innings.
Victoria scored all the runs they needed in the top of the third inning, scoring twice on a single and a pair of doubles for a 2-0 lead. They stretched their advantage to 3-0 in the seventh, adding another run on a single and a double, both with two-out.
North Delta did their best to extend their season in the bottom of the seventh against Eagles pitcher Fynn Chester, who was fifth in the regular season with a 1.78 ERA.
Matt Gillen got on base on a two-out error, and moved to second when Dylan Dahl drew a walk. Mackenzie Marquis then singled to score Gillen and move Dahl to third, but the next batter flied out to right field to end the game, the series and the season.
Tyler Hoefer pitched the final game for North Delta, allowing nine hits without a walk. He struck out five batters and gave up three earned runs over seven innings pitched.
Marquis was the top batter for North Delta, going three-for-four and driving in the lone Blue Jays run.
A first-round playoff loss after a 21-13 (win-loss) regular season was a step forward for the North Delta team.
A year ago, the Blue Jays were 17-30 in league play, and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.