The Nanaimo NightOwls picked up where they left off in 2022, posting a 7-3 victory over the visiting Walla Walla Sweets at historic Serauxmen Stadium on Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game opening-series whitewash.

Following on the heels of a 14-4 win in the home opener, and a 6-5 late-inning Houdini act on Saturday evening, the NightOwls have now won eight games in a row dating back to August of 2022 when the expansion club closed that season with five wins in a row, including three wins at Serauxmen over the Port Angeles Lefties.
The NightOwls are one of six teams, in a league of 16, to start 3-0 in this young West Coast League season, sitting in a tie atop the North Division with the Victoria HarbourCats, Wenatchee AppleSox and Bellingham Bells, who will be at Serauxmen Stadium for a Friday-Saturday-Sunday afternoon set next weekend. Springfield and Corvallis are tied at 3-0 in the South Division. Four teams from each division make the playoffs.
Outfielder Brandon Hupe (UBC) and first baseman Ethan Rivera (Cal State San Marcos) went back-to-back with long balls in the first inning, setting the tone. Hupe, in his second year as a NightOwl and with a year of college eligibility remaining, drove a ball to left field, while Rivera, a versatile right-handed bat who also catches, drove a pitch to the opposite field over the “Screen Monster” to put Nanaimo on a path they would never be pushed off.
Starter Cooper Littledike and five relievers, four of them lefties, combined to scatter seven hits, walk just three, and fan eight hitters, most of those strikeouts coming at key points.
Otho Savage of Walla Walla took the loss.
Hupe, who is batting .714 to start the season, was 3-4 with three runs driven in and two runs scored, adding a double to his day. Justin Ramirez, the all-time hits leader at Arizona Christian, and DH Wylie Waters were both 2-4 as part of a 12-hit NightOwls attack — including a double each. Slick shortstop Elijah Ickes (Hawaii) was 1-2 with a walk to improve his batting average to .667. Catcher Michael Easter (East LA College) was 1-1 with a run and two walks and is batting .750 in the season’s early days.
The traveling Sweets move on to play at Victoria on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday — the NightOwls have Monday off before a trip to Kelowna to play the Falcons (1-2) in games Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with right-hander Payton Robertson (Arizona Christian) slated to start the first game, followed by another righty in Talon Mihalinac (New Jersey Institute of Technology) in the second game.

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