The 11U AAA Vernon Canadians outlasted Salmon Arm 11-10 and shaded the Kamloops River Dogs 5-4 in minor baseball play Sunday at Lakeview Park.
The Canadians struggled to find their rhythm and Salmon Arm pounced on them early, opening up a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Starting pitcher Blayke Butler settled down nicely after hitting the first batter and walking the next two, but a bases-clearing double by Linden Reynolds jump-started the Salmon Arm offence early. Reynolds later scored on a single by Connor Steward to make it 4-0. Vernon answered with one in the bottom of the first (Jamie Campbell BB followed by three steals.
Butler and Chayse Brumpton combined to shut down Salmon Arm in the second, each with a strikeout. Vernon responded in the bottom half, scoring three to tie things at 4-4. Kacey Miller started things off with a single, followed by a double down the left field line by Reid Williamson. Butler stepped in with runners at second and third and hit a towering three-run blast to deep right field.
Mark Johnson stepped on the mound in the third inning and pitched a solid 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on one hit and three walks with three Ks after Salmon Arm scored two runs in the third off two walks and a single off Brumpton.
Down 10-8 after four and a half innings, the Canadians rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead 11-10. Johnson started things with a one-out single up the middle and Campbell drove him home with a triple, and later stole home on a passed ball to level the score. Charlie Swartz, Kaleb Murray and Miller then hit consecutive singles, with Miller driving in Swartz for the go-ahead run.
Jamie Campbell came in to shut things down in the top of the sixth, striking out the side for the save. Miller was 3-for-3 with two runs.
The second game of the double bill featured exceptional pitching performances from both sides with Kamloops scoring first off Miller.
Ibrahim Diaou battled Miller early for a six-pitch walk and Ryder Corsi drove him in with a line-drive double. Corbin Vaughn knocked in Corsi with a single and later scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0 River Dogs.
The Canadians responded in the bottom half with each of the first six batters reaching base. Ryan Cox led off with a walk and was driven to third base on a double from Johnson but was thrown out at home attempting to score on a passed ball. Johnson later scored on a passed ball. to make it 3-1.
Murray kept the rally alive with a single followed by a walk to Swartz. Miller stepped in and drove a single to left and Murray was gunned out at home attempting to score. Swartz and Miller scored on a single by Jamie Campbell to tie things 3-3 after one.
The Canadians scored two in the bottom half of the second to open a two-run lead. Jonah Lee started things off, battling in a seven-pitch walk, followed by a double to the right centre gap by Brumpton to get runners at second and third with one out. Reid Williamson and Dominic Meyer worked the River Dogs pitching staff effectively, earning back-to-back walks to score Lee to make it 4-3, and Morgan Hackman drove in Brumpton on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-3.