Fans not quite ready to bid farewell to baseball for the summer at Royal Athletic Park have another high-level competition to take in this week.
On the heels of the Victoria HarbourCats playing for the West Coast League title, the Victoria Mavericks and nine other teams from across the country will begin playing Thursday for the Baseball Canada Men’s National Championship crown at RAP and Lambrick Park in Saanich.
Some names familiar to Capital Region baseball watchers will be in the lineup for the Mavericks. They include former HarbourCats Connor Russell (right-handed pitcher) and Nanaimo’s Griffin Andreychuk (infielder); a pair of former Major League draft picks in Kyle Orr (Dodgers 2006, inf./outfield) and Bobby Scott (Blue Jays 2004, catcher/OF); former Minor League pros Sean Murphy (Inf.) and Charlie Strandlund (C-RHP) and an assortment of current and former college players.
“It’s always key to find good pitching, and with these being seven-inning games, there is a greater feeling of urgency with a pitching staff,” said HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson, one of the local baseball minds that put together the Mavericks roster.
He’s confident this group can be in the hunt for a spot in the championship game on Sunday. “We think the lineup is one that will be able to score runs and the defence should be solid behind our pitchers.”
The roster for Victoria will be guided on the field by manager Dave Diachuk and coaches Troy Birtwistle, Scott Thompson and Mike Cressey. Other players include catcher Connor Moughtin, veteran infielders Lanny Burrows and Kevin Biro, and pitchers Brendan Orr, Cooper Misic, Luke Manuel, Jordan Broatch, Mitch Davidoff, Kevin Pockett, Jeremy Campbell and Jason Gibson.
Brothers Liam (OF/P) and Aidan Goodall (RHP) from Nanaimo, both former college standouts, round out the lineup.
Tourists and anyone else in the Ogden Point area may do a double take on Wednesday, when the tournament festivities kick off with the Victoria Mobile Radio Harbour Derby at 6 p.m. The contest will see sluggers from each team – Kyle Orr and Murphy will represent the Mavericks – take turns hammering pitches into the outer harbour from the cruise ship docks.
Opening games Thursday at 9 a.m. see Newfoundland and Labrador taking on regional rival Nova Scotia at RAP, while Sherwood Park, Alta. takes on Mississauga, Ont. at Lambrick Park. Subsequent games are at noon, and 3 p.m. at each park, followed by the opening ceremonies at RAP at 6:15 p.m. and the feature game there at 7 p.m. between Victoria and New Brunswick.
The playoff round gets underway Saturday night at RAP with the bronze medal game set for 4 p.m. Sunday followed by the gold medal game at 7.
For full draw and ticket information, visit harbourcats.com/packages/mensnationals , stop by the Victoria HarbourCats office at 1814 Vancouver St., call 778-265-0327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.