VICTORIA, B.C. — The ka-boom before the ka-boom — and even more ka-boom set for Monday, July 1.
On the night before Canada Day, and shortly before the host Victoria HarbourCats set off their famous June 30 fireworks show, it was the Nanaimo NightOwls who lit the fuse in a convincing 13-4 win at Wilson’s Group Stadium at RAP in Victoria.
Building an early 7-0 lead, and punctuating with a four-run inning in the eighth, the NightOwls earned their third win in seven games between the island rivals — and setting up an interesting Monday, July 1, at Serauxmen Stadium in Nanaimo, when the Re/Max Generation Island Cup will be determined in the closest race in three years.
The NightOwls can win their first Island Cup with a sweep of the doubleheader on Monday, with first game slated for a 4pm start, with an approximately 7pm start for the second outing (one ticket gets entry to both games). The second game is a make up because of Saturday’s rain out.
In front of more than 4,000, Nanaimo pounded out 13 hits, including Nevan Noonan going 2-6 with four runs driven in. Mike Easter was 2-4 with two runs driven in, Deshon Thomas was 2-5 with two RBIs, Wiley Waters was 1-4 with two RBIs, and Riley Paulino was 1-4 with two runs, two walks, and two runs driven in. Noonan hit a two-run home run in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Nanaimo scored two in the first, three in the second, and two more in the third to race into the lead. Waters had a triple to score two in the first, Noonan scored two with a single in the second, and Thomas also drove in a pair with a single in the third.

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Victoria scored three in the fourth to give a hint of a comeback, but the HarbourCats were held to seven hits and made two costly errors. Michelle Artzberger hit a solo shot to right in the bottom of the ninth to complete the Victoria scoring.
Nanaimo starter Josh Torres had a strong start, going four-plus innings, giving up six hits, and three runs (two earned), striking out five and allowing one walk. Li Sih-te was strong in two scoreless innings, leading to two spotless innings from Paul Montgomery. Grant Jakobson finished the game off in the ninth inning.
The NightOwls will send Adison Mattix and Aidan Boice to the mound in the starting assignments on Monday, which will see Nanaimo unveil new Canada Day red jerseys sponsored by the Serauxmen Service Club. The first game will start at 4pm, the second game tentatively slated for 7pm — both seven-inning games.
After the second game, the NightOwls are set to have their first-ever in-season fireworks show, which would start at darkness after the completion of the game, sponsored by Kw’umut Lelum Foundation and Maxxam Insurance — tickets available at the gate, at, or with general admission vouchers at all Save On Foods locations in Nanaimo, Parksville and Ladysmith. The fireworks are the only Canada Day fireworks being done in the mid-island region.

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