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Manny Ramirez adds star power as NightOwl, HarbourCat bats spark fireworks

Nanaimo beats Victoria by 13-5 score in West Coast League baseball action

With a former star slugger in the ballpark, the Nanaimo NightOwls were swinging away last night.

The NightOwls defeated the Victoria HarbourCats by a 13-5 score on Thursday, June 20, in West Coast League baseball action with former major leaguer Manny Ramirez in attendance at Serauxmen Stadium.

Ramirez's sons Manny Jr. and Lucas play for the HarbourCats, and Thursday marked the first time this season that both brothers have been in the starting lineup for the same game.

Ramirez was supposed to throw out the opening pitch, but traffic delays in Duncan delayed the ceremony until after the fourth inning.

The former Boston Red Sox all-star and two-time World Series champion was introduced by NightOwls general manager Jim Swanson and was presented with a woven cedar hat by Snuneymuxw Coun. Bill Yoachim, who panned that the hats have been around a lot longer than Red Sox ball caps.

Ramirez told the News Bulletin that the HarbourCats were recommended by Manny Jr.'s coach at East Los Angeles College, and the team accommodated a request for Lucas, bound for the University of Tennessee, to play there too.

"It was unbelievable because I've never seen my sons play together on the same team," Ramirez said.

He said he loves West Coast League baseball, and said it's good competition with batters facing great pitching. He also said he loves Vancouver Island, calling it clean and beautiful, and he's enjoyed being part of the atmosphere at the ballparks with West Coast League baseball fans.

"They're awesome and we're just happy to be here," Ramirez said.

The HarbourCats and NightOwls made sure Ramirez and other fans saw an action-packed night as the teams combined for 18 runs and 26 hits. Ten different NightOwls players hit safely in the win. Aaron Marsh was 2-for-4 with three RBI, Ryder Florence was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Riley Paulino was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Owls starting pitcher Aidan Russell threw five innings, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out 10.

GAME ON … The NightOwls start a series on the road against the Portland Pickles on Friday, June 21, and are back at Serauxmen Stadium on Tuesday, June 25, to start a series against the Kamloops NorthPaws.

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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