The air is beginning to change, the sun is shining just a little bit more, and yes, the baseball season has come to UFV. The Cascades, who now start their season shortly after most of the varsity programs have ended, began their road back to the conference championship game that eluded them the previous year. It all started this year in Nanaimo, as UFV met the VIU Mariners on Saturday, March 23.
The Cascades had a positive Saturday, winning and losing but in valuable fashion. The win took place in the first game of the day’s double header, which saw UFV emerge victorious with a score of 5-2. The second game was much harder, but a character-building experience for the team. After being down three runs in the eighth inning, UFV mounted a comeback, sending the game to extra innings. The Cascades went on to lose in the 11th inning by a score of 5-4, but it signaled to UFV fans that this team wasn’t going to be easy to beat. Losing such a close game that required so much coordination as a team will prove to serve the Cascades well, as they continue to grow as a team and develop their skills, both tangible and intangible.
In their home opener, the Cascades rebounded from their loss the previous afternoon and lifted their record above 0.500. In Sunday’s first meeting, the Cascades started strong, going up two runs to none in the first inning. Fast forward to the fifth and the Mariners answered back with a solo shot, but UFV countered with another two runs. It became evident that while VIU had the ability to blast the ball over the fence, they would have to do it more consistently, as UFV made up for their lack of home runs in methodical and well-timed hits which led to scores. The Cascades earned one more run in the sixth and eighth innings and that did it; they won the game by a score of 6-1.
With the Cascades up two games to one, the last of the weekend’s matchups proved one of the closest of the four-game series. The first five innings went scoreless, as neither team was willing to give up any ground. In what seemed to be a trend on Saturday, the Mariners got on the scoreboard with a big home run single that put them up 1-0. In the eighth inning UFV was desperate, as they needed at least one score to tie. Similar to Saturday’s second game, the Cascades were able to come up big in the eighth inning. A big double play saw UFV take the lead in the eighth, leaving only the ninth inning for VIU to come back. In the end, the Cascades held off the Mariners for the 2-1 win, going three and one over the course of the weekend.
The Cascades pitching was the difference maker at home, with leftie Brad Bishop posting a 1.50 earned run average (ERA) and righty Evan Petersen with a 1.35. The catching and hitting was also impressive, as UFV was poised for almost everything VIU threw at them. Next up for the Cascades is the Okanagan College Coyotes who head to Abbotsford’s Delair Park this Saturday for a doubleheader with the first game beginning at 12 p.m. and the second game beginning at 3 p.m.
Image: UFV Cascades Flickr