For the third time in the past five seasons, the North Shore Twins are champions of the B.C. Premier Baseball League.
The Twins claimed the crown with a 9-2 win over the Mid-Island Pirates in the BCPBL championship final played Sunday at UBC Stadium. The final was a tight affair through the first four innings but the Twins struck for four runs in the bottom of the fifth and three runs in the bottom of the sixth to break the game wide open on their way to a comfortable championship win.
Twins star Adam Maier paced the offence with an RBI triple and two walks, scoring three times in the win. Catcher Ben Columbus, the league’s Rookie of the Year award winner, also had a big day at the plate, blasting a two-run home run in the sixth, finishing the day 1-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Griffin Palfrey got the offence started for the Twins with a two-run double in the bottom of the first, finishing the day 2-4 with a run and three RBI. Pitcher Liam Bates earned the win with a strong effort, going the distance while allowing two earned runs on eight hits and two walks over seven innings.
The win completed a playoff run that nearly got derailed right off the bat. The Twins, second in the league following the regular season, lost the first game of their opening three-game series against the seventh-place North Delta Blue Jays but rebounded to win the next two to make the championship weekend.
They needed some heroics from Maier to get there, however, as he crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 3 against the Blue Jays with the Twins trailing 3-0 and facing elimination. After dispatching the Jays the Twins then scored three straight wins in the final tournament, including Sunday’s victory over the top-seeded Pirates.
Maier was a monster throughout the playoffs, leading all batters in home runs with two, RBIs with 11, runs with 10 and hits with 10 while putting up a .588 batting average and .667 on-base percentage.
Maier, a recent Carson Graham grad who is headed to UBC to play with the Thunderbirds this fall, was also dominant on the mound for the Twins in the playoffs, earning three of the team’s five wins while striking out 20 and giving up two earned runs over 13 innings. The playoff performances continued a dominant regular season run for Maier, who allowed just two earned runs in 58.1 innings for a record-setting ERA of 0.24. Maier earned both the league’s MVP honours and top pitcher award.
Pitcher Joseph Sinclair, the league’s strikeout leader with 100 in 66.1 innings in the regular season, was also strong on the mound in the playoffs, earning one win while giving up two runs and striking out 17 in 13 innings.
It was the latest in a long line of championship wins for the Twins – they’ve claimed six titles since 2007 – but the first for new head coach Parker Kynoch, who took the reins from Brooks McNiven, who was the team’s pitching coach this season, and ended up on top in his first year as head coach.