VANCOUVER, BC – For the fifth time in franchise history and the first time in High-A, the Vancouver Canadians are champions of the Northwest League. The C’s put the finishing touches on a remarkable 2023 season with a one-sided 10-2 win over the Everett AquaSox [Mariners] Saturday night at Rogers
VANCOUVER, BC – For the fifth time in franchise history and the first time in High-A, the Vancouver Canadians are champions of the Northwest League. The C’s put the finishing touches on a remarkable 2023 season with a one-sided 10-2 win over the Everett AquaSox [Mariners] Saturday night at Rogers Field at Nat Bailey Stadium to vanquish the Frogs three games to one.
After an edge-of-your-seat-type 1-0 win on Friday night to put Vancouver back in the series lead, the Canadians left little doubt as to who would take Game 4. The scoring started in the second when Jeff Wehler led off with a double, Garrett Spain followed three pitches later with a two-bagger of his own to make it 1-0 C’s then scored after a pair of walks moved him to third and a double play brought him home.
Vancouver starter Ryan Jennings – who toed the slab at The Nat for the first time as a pro – set the tone for the pitching staff with three scoreless and hitless innings that featured one walk, a hit batter and five strikeouts before he passed the baton to Anders Tolhurst (W, 1-0). He retired the side in order in the top of the fourth, which proved to be the last time the game could have swung in either direction.
The C’s put Everett’s season to bed with a five-run fourth. The inning began with a Spain single and a Dasan Brown walk before a pitching change. A strikeout brought Jommer Hernandez to the dish, who lofted a bloop single into shallow enter to load the bases. A run-scoring fielder’s choice followed to put Vancouver in front 3-0.
A crucial error in the next at-bat proved to be the hinge on which the rest of the game swung. Instead of an inning-ending groundout, a high throw allowed a run to score and put two men on for Cade Doughty, who socked a two-RBI double to left field for a six-run Canadians advantage. Gabby Martinez followed with a single to plate Doughty and the C’s led 7-0.
The Frogs managed to score two runs in the fifth to end Vancouver’s 19.2 scoreless innings streak in the series, but the Canadians responded with a run in the sixth on another Doughty double and Martinez base hit and two in the seventh thanks to Spain’s second double of the night and 2023 draftee Nick Goodwin’s first career High-A homer.
Up 10-2 after seven, the Canadians got scoreless innings of relief from Eric Pardinho and Justin Kelly in the eighth and the ninth, respectively, to close out the game and clinch the title.
The C’s offense – limited to just four runs on 19 hits in the first three games – erupted for a double-digit score on 13 hits, wrapping up the series having outscored the AquaSox 14-12. All nine starters reached base and seven had a hit, highlighted by three-knock showings from Spain and Martinez. The latter paced the offense in the NWLCS; Martinez went 7-16 with a double and three RBI in four games played.
Vancouver’s pitching staff – the class of the league in the regular season – lived up to their reputation in the playoffs. If you remove the first three innings in Game 2 where they gave up 10 runs on five hits, the stable of C’s arms allowed just two runs while scattering 19 hits over 32 frames (that’s a 0.92 ERA).
With the win, the Canadians are Northwest League Champions for the first time since 2017 and the fifth time since becoming a Blue Jays affiliate in 2011. It’s the city’s first full season baseball crown since the Pacific Coast League Canadians won it all in 1999.
So begins the long wait for spring. The C’s will begin their title defense on April 5, 2024 in Spokane with the home opener set for Tuesday, April 9 against Hillsboro. Tickets, promotions and more information are available all offseason via CanadiansBaseball.com.