In 2009, the Premier Twins guided by John Haar, Hovan Patey, Jordan Wilson and Jim Rouleau set out on the path toward a third PBL Championship. We had the T-shirts from 2007 and 2008 and with a veteran team, went looking for the hat-trick. The team posted a total season record of 52 wins, 27 losses and 2 ties across the 81 game combination of PBL regular season, playoffs and 5 tournaments (including April appearances in the Finals vs Vauxhall Academy in Kamloops, winning the Parksville Best of the West Tournament in May and appearing in the Finals vs Toyota in the Coos Bay Oregon Invitational in July).
After spending most of the season in the top 3 of the PBL, the Twins fell victim to a July swoon which by the time the regular season ended, dropped us into 5th place with an identical 29-19 win/loss record to our finish in 2008. The difference was that in 2009, this only got us 5th place and the right to travel to Victoria to begin our title defense against the 4th place Mariners. In what has become an annual habit with the squad, they play best in “must win” situations and shaking off the July stumble, they defeated the Mariners in a best of 3 series on the road to earn their 5th straight trip to the Final 4.
The 2009 Final Four at Langley's McLeod Park was a tournament defined by upsets. The Twins opened the Final 4 with a 5-0 victory over the Blue Jays who had our number all season, while the upstart Chiefs pulled off back to back upsets of the Blaze and then the Jays. In our second game of the tournament, we missed the chance to be masters of our own fate, getting trounced 9-1 by the Blaze. We re-bounded in our next match-up against the as yet undefeated Chiefs, with a 2-1 win. With the round robin standings very much up in the air, the Blue Jays threw another curve into the tournament by upsetting the Blaze 5-3 to seal a Twins vs Chiefs final.
In the Championship game, North Shore scored a 3-2 win over the Chiefs on a sunny and hot Sunday to give us our third consecutive B.C. Premier Baseball League championship title. In the bottom of the seventh, Andrew Madsen lashed a two on, two-out, two-strike single to left-centerfield to score George Halim from 2nd base to make us the first team in BCPBL history to win three titles in a row. Mitch Rainer and Ben Armstrong were there for all three championship victories. Rainer led the Twins to victory during the championship tournament, throwing two complete game wins in three days. While Keaton Briscoe and Mitch Rainer were dominating on the mound, it was Madsen who took care of business at the plate, going six for nine in the team's four games and driving in seven runs.
In 2009, the Twins were again one of the League’s better hitting teams. The July hitting drought came to a timely end beginning with the Final 8 with the veterans showing their experience. During the 2009 playoffs, the Twins got game winning offense from KP Hlatky (.556 OB%), Paul Schipizky (6 RBIs and .478 OB%), Armstrong (4 RBIs and .417 OB%), Madsen (9RBIs and .556 OB%), Keaton Briscoe (4 RBIs and .400 OB%), Mitch Rainer (2RBIs and .333 OB%) and George Halim (9 runs scored and .479 OB%).
The 2009 pitching staff was anchored by veteran Mitch Rainer (12-6) who again proved his worth in big games. Injuries to Cam Foster, Daniel Altoe and Griff Ledingham limited their mound time, but our remaining starters had fine seasons with rookie Ty Walker going 9-2, veteran Taylor Kipnes 9-4, Keaton Briscoe 6-0, Brendan Clark 4-3 and lefty Griff Ledingham 3-3. Nice bullpen performances came from rookie Matt Hall, Dan Altoe, Cam Foster and Stefan Reeves.
In 2009, the Twins rookies acquitted themselves well as they worked their way into the lineup behind our veterans. Will McKnight worked hard to overcome the effects of a long-term football injury which had kept him out of action for a year and a half, Ryan Connolly platooned at 3rd base and showed ability with the bat, Landon Briscoe progressed well in relief of starting catcher Ben Armstrong, Dylan Brommeland contributed timely hitting and some spectacular running catches in left field, Brendan Gaunt brought speed and some nice ball tracking ability to the outfield while Matt Hall and Ty Walker (both still Junior eligible) made the big jump to Premiers and produced some solid start and relief performances. Junior call-ups, Louis Boyd and Alex Graham saw some action in the regular season and were called up for the playoff run.
We say goodbye to the following grads all of whom made major contributions to another Championship season:
Ben Armstrong….Odessa College Wranglers…Texas
Keaton Briscoe …UBC Thunderbirds
Ryan Connolly…Capilano University
Cam Foster…Mount Hood Community College Saints, Oregon
George Halim…Huntington University Foresters, Indiana
Taylor Kipnes… Douglas College Royals
Griffin Ledingham…University of Victoria
Andrew Madsen…UBC Thunderbirds
Mitch Rainer… Hillsboro Community College Hawks, Texas
Paul Schipizky… Pasadena City College Lancers, California
Returning for 2010
The Twins can look back at what has been a most exciting year not only as a result of the satisfaction of an unprecedented 3rd consecutive Provincial Championship but from the perspective of another long list of team and individual awards and successes, including:
September 2008…Premier…Jim Wray Memorial Fall Classic Finalists 2008
April 2009…Premier…Kamloops Best of the West Finalists
May 2009…Premier…Parksville Best of the West Champions
June 2009 MLB 1st Year Draft …RHP Brandon Kaye (North Shore Twins 2007 by the Toronto , Blue Jays, Round 45)
June 2009…Premier…American Legion Post 7 Invitational Finalists
July 2009…Coos Bay Invitational Finalists
July 2009…BCPBL Team of the Year Award
August 2009…Premier…3Peat BCPBL Provincial Champions for 2009
December 2009…No.5 in the Top 5 North Shore Sports Stories of the Year…North Shore News
As well as team success, North Shore continued to place Twins on the League’s All Conference teams, boasted League leaders in many PBL categories and placed players from all of our three levels on National, Provincial and showcase teams.
Team Canada Junior National Team Invitations 2009
2009 BCPBL Awards
Top Achievement…Mitch Rainer…Perfect Game…31 May in a 4-0 win over Mariners
Most Triples…Keaton Briscoe
Most RBIs…Andrew Madsen
Most Plate Appearances…George Halim
Best Team Batting Average…North Shore Twins
Most Team Hits..North Shore Twins
BCPBL 1st All Conference Team
BCPBL 2nd All Conference Team
2009 BCPBL Player of the Week
Offensive/ Week 1 Ryan Connolly
Pitching/ Week 2 Mitch Rainer
2009 U17 BC Selects Camp Invitees
2009 U17 BC Selects Canada Cup Gold Medalists, Kindersley Saskatchewan, August 2009
2009 U19 Canada Summer Games, P.E.I., Team BC…August 2009
2009 Pacific Northwest Championship Tournament, Portland Oregon, August 2009
2010 Team BC
2011 Team BC
2012 Team BC
2013 Team BC
Arizona Fall Classic, Peoria Arizona October 2009
2010 Team BC
2011 Team BC