Duncan Blades (2) is congratulated by his Maverick teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning Sunday morning, a shot that gave the Mavericks an eventual 4-1 win and sent them to the Gold Medal game Sunday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Victoria will go for gold tonight, but they did not get there the easy way.

It’s been quite an unlikely run for the Victoria team in the Baseball Canada 2018 Men’s National Championships held right here at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, and Lambrick Park this week.

Unlikely in that the team coached by veteran baseball man Jim Swanson (who is also the managing partner of the HarbourCats) stumbled out of the starting blocks in its first two round-robin games, for an 0-2 record by Friday afternoon, after being outscored a combined 19 runs to 4 over the two losses.  But Victoria is now on a four-game winning streak that started with Friday night and Saturday afternoon wins (over Nova Scotia and Manitoba, respectively) to finish the round-robin and qualify for the playoff rounds.

Last night in quarter-final action, Victoria defeated a Quebec team (3-1 in the round-robin) that looked very strong to start the tournament.  But it wasn’t close, as Victoria took the game 11-5.  Then in this morning’s semi-final match against Tecumseh (Ontario 1, a team Victoria has lost to on Friday), Victoria triumphed this time, 4-1.

That all sets up the gold medal final game tonight, at 7pm at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.  And there’s a chance it’ll be an all-BC final too, as the other semi-final game, now underway, features British Columbia vs. New Brunswick, and the winner there advances to tonight’s final against Victoria.  A bronze-medal game also takes place at 4pm today, between the loser of that game, and Tecumseh.

Victoria will try to repeat their 2008 gold medal performance, when they won the tournament that year in Brandon, Manitoba.

Tickets for tonight’s 7 p.m. gold-medal game are just $10, at the park gates.

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