The Nanaimo NightOwls have landed, and the second year of WCL baseball in the Harbour City was full proof.
The big crowds in July, bursting with energy that rivals any other city in collegiate summer baseball for noise and entertainment, saw the NightOwls battle for a playoff spot until the season’s final days, elbowed out of post-season contention with just four days remaining in the 2023 schedule.
After a 22-32 mark in the debut season in 2022, the NightOwls improved to within a game of the .500 mark at 26-28, ending with two solid road wins in Kamloops. Under Head Coach Greg Frady, Pitching Coach Gorm Heimueller, and Assistant Coach Sean FitzGerald, Nanaimo saw improvements in offence, pitching and defence over the inaugural season.
Ickes and Nanaimo-bred infielder Aaron Marsh, his double-play partner many nights, were named co-winners of the Player of the Year award — Marsh hit .287 with 24 runs driven in, and Ickes was the slickest with the glove, making so many spectacular plays at short while batting .277 with a team-high 49 hits and 11 stolen bases.