When playing four games in a span of 27 hours, getting the most out of the starting pitchers is key.
And when each of the four hurlers goes the distance, a successful weekend in the B.C. Premier Baseball League (PBL) is very likely.
The North Delta Blue Jays won all four games on a road trip to Vancouver Island last weekend sweeping the Parksville Royals in two games Saturday before taking two contests with the Nanaimo Pirates Sunday afternoon.
In all four games the Jays received complete-game efforts from their pitchers, allowing North Delta to extend their win streak to nine games, a league high.
During the streak, the Blue Jays transformed from a team battling for one of eight playoff positions to one that is now in fourth place, just three and one-half games behind the first-place North Shore Twins.
And the Twins will visit the Blue Jays at Mackie Park Sunday. The first game of a double header is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start.
In Parksville Saturday, North Delta won by scores of 5-4 and 8-1.
In the first game, eight North Delta batters managed at least one hit, with Cole Evans leading the way with three singles in four at-bats.
Matt Poirier got the pitching staff off to a solid start to the weekend, throwing all seven innings for the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks.
Ryder Davis gave the Blue Jays another complete-game effort in the second game against Parksville, collecting eight strikeouts while pitching all seven innings in a lopsided victory. The one unearned run was allowed on two hits – both singles – and a pair of walks.
The Jays managed another dozen hits off a pair of Royals pitchers, with Tyler Hoefer leading the way with three singles, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Evans, Poirier and Logan Newman each had two hits, with Newman collecting three RBIs.
A day later in Nanaimo, the Blue Jays were outhit 6-5 by the Nanaimo Pirates in the first game of the double header, but managed a 4-3 come-from-behind win.
Trailing 3-1 after five innings, North Delta scored once in the sixth inning and twice in the seventh for the victory. Dryden Dion and Marc Ashford paced the offense with two hits each, Dion also credited with a pair of RBIs.
Justin Olic was the winning pitcher, striking out four batters and giving up two earned runs on six hits and two walks.
Hoefer was given the ball for the weekend finale, and shutout the Pirates while giving the Blue Jays their fourth complete-game effort from their starting pitchers. Hoefer struck out 12 Pirates, limiting Nanaimo to a pair of singles and a walk.
North Delta had just four this, but made the most of them. Poirier had a single and a double, scoring one run. The Blue Jays were scheduled to host the White Rock Tritons Tuesday night, a contest that was rained out and will be rescheduled.
FOUL TIPS: The Blue Jays have a pair of batters among the top 10 in the PBL. Marc Ashford is seventh with a .357 batting average, with Cole Evans in 10th at .349. Matthew Reyes of the North Shore Twins in the league leader at .457.
Tyler Hoefer is ranked 10th among pitchers with a 1.49 earned run average. His is also fifth in strikeouts with 51.
Chiefs sidelined by rain
The Whalley Chiefs saw all three of their most recent games rained out. Scheduled to host the North Shore Twins twice Saturday and the Abbotsford Cardinals for one game Tuesday, Whalley was idle and remain in fifth place at 16-10, a half-game back of the Blue Jays.
The Chiefs will be at home for a double header this weekend. The 11-14 Victoria Eagles will be the visitors at 1 p.m. Sunday at Whalley Stadium.