VANCOUVER, BC – In a season of countless comebacks, big at-bats and late innings showdowns, the Canadians couldn’t quite muster one last push in the final frames to salvage their season in a 9-7 loss in ten innings at The Nat on Friday night that crowned the Eugene Emeralds (Giants)
VANCOUVER, BC – In a season of countless comebacks, big at-bats and late innings showdowns, the Canadians couldn’t quite muster one last push in the final frames to salvage their season in a 9-7 loss in ten innings at The Nat on Friday night that crowned the Eugene Emeralds (Giants) Northwest League Champions for the second consecutive season.
The final three innings were a roller coaster of emotion. Trailing 4-3 to start the bottom of the eighth, Vancouver used a lead-off walk from Miguel Hiraldo and a single from Michael Turconi to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, Alex De Jesus – who doubled home a run in the fourth to complete a two-run frame for the C’s – lofted a game-tying sacrifice fly to centerfield. Garrett Spain followed with one of the biggest hits of the season when he lined a go-ahead single into left and later scored on an Andres Sosa RBI double.
Leading 6-4 and three outs away from forcing Game 4, the Canadians had Mason Fluharty – who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth – go back out for the ninth. He surrendered a lead-off double and Connor Cooke (BS, 1/L, 0-1) was called upon with a runner at second and the tying run at the plate. He struck out his first batter, walked the next then gave up a three-run, go-ahead homer to #4 Giants prospect Grant McCray to make it 7-6 Emeralds. It was the second three-run homer of the day for Eugene; Luis Toribio clubbed one in the fifth to erase a 2-0 Vancouver lead.
Down but not out, the C’s managed to tie it in the ninth. PK Morris started the inning with an infield single and was replaced by pinch runner Glenn Santiago, who was tested on the very next pitch when #9 Blue Jays prospect Gabby Martinez lined a double over the left fielder’s head to score Santiago from first and even the tally at seven runs apiece. Critically, Vancouver failed to score the elusive game winner after stranding Martinez at second base.
In the tenth, Cooke got the first two batters of the inning to keep the placed runner at second before Jimmy Glowenke lofted a 1-1 pitch to left center that just kept carrying until it left the ballpark for a two-run homer, the eventual game-winner after the C’s went down in order in the home half.
This was Eugene’s series to lose. They were far and away the best team in the league during the regular season – they won both halves and finished with more runs scored and a lower team ERA than any other club in the circuit – and beat the Canadians in their season series 20-8. They will aim to match Vancouver’s three straight titles from 2011-13 when play begins in April 2023.
So begins the long wait for spring. Vancouver’s first season back at The Nat since 2019 may have ended two games too soon, but North Delta, BC native Brent Lavallee skippered an incredible group of players that came, went, stayed, played and wrote the story of the 2022 Vancouver Canadians. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting the Vancouver Canadians this year.