The Whalley Junior Chiefs may have finished fourth in the BC Junior Premier Baseball League regular season, but they won big when it counted – capturing a league title Sunday after a perfect playoff weekend in North Vancouver.
The Chiefs, who had a 21-15 win-loss record during the regular season, defeated the tournament host North Shore Junior Twins 8-6 in the championship game.
The White Rock Tritons – who were the seventh seed in the eight-team tournament – did not advance past the playoff’s round-robin portion of the schedule, winning just once in three games.
The team’s lone victory came Saturday afternoon, 5-3 over the Abbotsford Cardinals.
In the championship final on Sunday, Whalley took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, when Stephen Horner singled and later scored on a North Shore error. The lead was extended to 4-0 one inning later when Ethan Gray – who reached base after being hit by a pitch – Jared Allemann and Horner all scored after one single, a walk, an error and a wild pitch.
The Twins scored a run in the bottom half of the inning to bring the deficit to just three runs, and scored twice more in the fourthh, while Whalley scored once themselves, when Jordan Yamaguchi was hit by a pitch and later scored.
The scored remained 5-3 until the seventh inning, when the two teams scored three runs apiece.
Chiefs’ pitcher Nolan Weger was credited with the win, pitching four innings while scattering five hits. He also led the way offensively, with a triple and three runs batted in.
After Weger’s four innings on the mound, he was relieved by Justin Olic, who struck out one batter over the final three innings.
The Langley Junior Blaze – who’d lost just nine games in the regular season – were the favourites heading into the playoff weekend, but they were up-ended in the semifinals, losing 9-8 to the Twins, leaving the door open for an underdog to snag the title.
Like the Tritons, the North Delta Blue Jays – who finished sixth in the regular season – also did not advance through the round-robin contests, winning just once.
In White Rock’s victory over Abbotsford, the Peninsula squad overcame an early 3-0 deficit to edge their Fraser Valley rivals.
After Abby scored three runs in the first inning, the Tritons responded with three runs of their own in the fourth, highlighted by a Travis Klein double that scored Jeremy Kelleway, who had also hit a double earlier in the inning.
The Tritons scored single runs in each of the last two innings to secure the victory.
Pitcher Tanner Carmont went the distance on the hill for White Rock, striking out four batters over seven innings.