Crushers take rare mid-Island title

Victory was a complete team effort, says Crusher coach

The Crushers played spoilers in Nanaimo last weekend as they captured lightening in a bottle and clinched the mid-Island championship.

The Crushers played spoilers in Nanaimo last weekend as they captured lightening in a bottle and clinched the mid-Island championship.

That sound you heard last Saturday could very well have been the Crushers celebrating.

Oceanside’s Midget house team shocked some last weekend as they rolled through their playoffs undefeated to lock up the mid-Island l title.

Also known as Oceanside 2, the Crushers’ playoff run started with a one run win over Oceanside 1 — a rainy muddy game Friday night at Parksville’s Inouye-Wallace Field.

On Saturday in Nanaimo the Crushers teamed up for a big 10-5 romp and one of the biggest upsets of the season over a then-unbeaten Chemainus squad who had only lost one game in two years, “and a great 9-7 win against Ladysmith for the Championship… I can’t stop smiling,” a chuffed Crushers coach Steve Austin said after the dust had settled.

Asked for some insight into his team’s season, Austin said “we were basically a .500 team right up to the playoffs… we had five first-year midget players and then we had three others that hadn’t played in a couple seasons, and we went on a tear, we won our final three league games and then the playoffs so undefeated in our last six games.

“It was just crazy — in the last three games they hardly made a mistake — they came together as a team and it was wonderful to see for these guys. We played five games in six days, so at the end the of it we had some tired arms, skinned knees, bumps and bruises… we were covered in A5-35 and ice by the end of that game that’s for sure.”

It’s been five years since a local squad has won the Mid-Island league. The players range in age from 15-19, and for two of the graduating players on the roster, they couldn’t have scripted a better swan song.

“To knock off Chemainus was huge …that was a proud moment to be sure,” he said. The Crush erupted for seven runs in the final inning of that game to steal the win.

“It was a complete team effort for sure,” he said of the playoffs. “The whole team; they were hitting singles and doubles and triples …the bats just came alive the last six games — it was unbelievable and our defence was just stellar. All the practice president in the pervious games paid off.”

If there was a difference maker though, Austin said it was the way his players attacked the base pads and piled up runs with speed and execution.

“They were so aggressive stealing bases, it was unbelievable — one of our guys stole home from third while  the pitcher was in his windup,” chuckled Austin. “Their aggressive base-running more than anything I think solidified those tight wins.”

“It’s a cool story,” OMB president Mike Parlow said of the underdogs, explaining “Steve’s the only coach for that team — most of our teams have two or three guys that step up to help, so it’s really his baby. He’s also our equipment manager, so he juggles a lot of responsibilities for us to keep it going for the kids.”