Cascades bounce back, sweep Mariners to get back to .500

Walter Eschner gave the Cascades an outstanding performance in relief on Wednesday afternoon vs. VIBI.

The University of the Fraser Valley baseball club’s four-game homestand got off to an inauspicious start, but the Cascades righted the ship to split their games at Fairfield Island Park this week.

On Tuesday, the Cascades hosted the Okanagan College Coyotes and lost not only their two scheduled games (by scores of 6-3 and 11-0), they also dropped a 14-12 decision as they played the last three innings of a game between the two teams which had been suspended in Kelowna (a recap can be found here).

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners came to town, and the Cascades evened their record at 11-11 with a pair of victories, by scores of 8-3 and 7-6.

“It was a tale of two different days,” UFV head coach Shawn Corness said after Wednesday’s games had concluded. “Yesterday we beat ourselves in probably every aspect of the game. Today, we played the game the way we’re capable of. We didn’t make a bunch of errors, the pitchers didn’t walk a bunch of guys, and it was just a better outcome.”


Riley Ens gave the Cascades a strong performance on the mound, striking out 12 batters and allowing just two earned runs over seven innings of work. But the Coyotes found some traction against the UFV bullpen, scoring three times in the top of the eighth to break the game open. Riley Jepson paced the Cascades’ offence, going 3-for-4, and Dan Rogers and Ryan West notched two hits apiece.


After registering six errors in the first game of the day, the Cascades’ defence continued to struggle in the back half of the doubleheader, piling up four more errors over five innings. Okanagan College starter Cole Parusinni had the UFV hitters on their heels, allowing just a single hit, off the bat of Tre Panktratz.


Jepson, the runaway league leader in hitting (.493 average), continued to flex his muscles at the dish. He hammered a grand slam – his third homer of the campaign – in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open what had been a one-run game. Rogers and Colin Kellington chipped in with two hits apiece, and Josh Berenbaum had two RBI. Dylan Emmons posted a quality start on the mound, notching seven strikeouts against three earned runs over six innings.


The Cascades rode a balanced attack to their second win of the day – eight of nine players in the lineup had at least one hit, with Berenbaum notching two. Kellington had a pair of RBI. On the mound, Walter Eschner gave UFV four innings of scoreless relief work, and Markus Gregson blanked the Mariners in the seventh to pick up the save.


The Cascades wrap up the CCBC regular season with their longest road trip of the campaign. They bus to Lethbridge, Alta. for a four-game weekend set vs. the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs, with games running Saturday and Sunday. The CCBC championship tournament runs next week in Kamloops.

“Besides the 12-and-a-half-hour bus ride, the timing is really good to play those guys the last weekend of the regular season,” Corness said, looking ahead to the match-up with the second-place Dawgs (17-7). “It’ll show us where we’re at and what we need to do heading into next week.”

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