1976 Game Reports, Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley     

1976 Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley 
1976 BC Interior 
1976 Vancouver Island   


Senior amateur-level baseball in the lower mainland took a new direction in 1976 with the formation of the Pacific Metro Baseball League comprising eight entries, divided into two divisions, essentially from the remnants of Vancouver’s Metro Baseball League and the transplanted Auroras (from Burnaby to New Westminster) of the Western International Baseball League.
Richmond Fraser Arms took over for the Budgets of the previous season while the Vancouver Pharaohs comprised the nucleus of the 1975 Capilanos. Puccini’s Italian Restaurant and the North Shore Mountaineers were the other Vancouver returnees.
Also included as new representatives in the circuit were franchises from Burnaby and Surrey, drawing player personnel heavily from the Junior Steelers and Sandpipers respectively, the latter team being the 1975 Canadian Junior finalists, as well as the Bells from the Washington-state border town of Bellingham.
In addition to regular league play, each team, with the exception of Bellingham, was scheduled to play four games, two home and two away, against senior teams from the Seattle area.

Bellingham Bells
Burnaby Barons
New Westminster Auroras
Surrey Sports

North Shore Mountaineers
Richmond Fraser Arms/Frasers
Vancouver Pharaohs
Vancouver Puccini’s

(May 16)  The Vancouver teams emerged with twin triumphs as the Pacific Metro Baseball League got underway with doubleheaders on four fronts.

Catcher Al Watson had a run-scoring single in the first game as Puccini’s edged Richmond Fraser Arms 3 to 2 and then drove in three runs with a double and single in a 6 to 1 second-game victory at Capilano Stadium. Les Babuin and Jim Nedalak were the winning pitchers for Puccini’s.

The Pharaohs stopped North Shore 4 to 1 and 5 to 4 at Mahon Park despite a two-run homer by the Mountaineers’ Jim Schwab in the second contest.

Playing at Whalley Stadium, the Burnaby Barons got four-hit pitching from Bob Bridges to blank Surrey Sports 2 to 0 in the opener. Ron Masson went two-for-three for the Barons and scored both their runs in this tilt. John Mickey fashioned a three-hitter as Surrey doubled Burnaby 4 to 2 in the nightcap.

At Bellingham, high winds contributed to 11 errors as the New Westminster Auroras outswatted the Bells 9 to 7 in a matinée encounter. Randy Eggen hurled  a one-hitter as the Bells came back to take the second game 2 to 1.

(May 18)  The Schwab brothers, Jim and Rob, were a one-two punch against Puccini’s in leading the North Shore Mountaineers to their first win of the Pacific Metro League campaign. Jim Schwab, on the knoll, punched out 11 and tossed a four-hitter at Capilano Stadium in blanking the Restaurateurs 8 to 0. Rob Schwab, North Shore’s leadoff hitter, sparked the Mountaineers’ offensive attack with three hits while teammate Len Gamlin contributed a two-run double.

At Central Park, starter Bill Jensen and reliever Nick Mitchell combined on a six-hitter in pitching the New Westminster Auroras to a 4 to 1 win over the Burnaby Barons. Mark Lehman broke open a 1 – 1 game with a three-run homer in the sixth inning for the margin of victory.

(May 19)  A four-run sixth inning propelled the Vancouver Pharaohs to an 8 to 6 Pacific Metro League victory over Richmond at Brighouse Park. Terry Schuss started the Pharaohs on their way with a two-run homer in the first inning. Centre-fielder Stu Winrob went four-for-five at the dish for the losers. 

(May 20)  The Vancouver Pharaohs collected only three hits while giving up six but still managed to get past the New Westminster Auroras 2 to 0 at Capilano Stadium to run their record to 4 – 0 for the season. Ron Frederick drove in the first run with a single while the second counter crossed the dish on a Royal City error. Keith Hunter went the route on the bump for the pitching win.

(May 21)  Pinch-hitter Terry Dreger’s squeeze bunt in the bottom-of-the-eleventh inning scored Russ McKee with the winning run as the Vancouver Puccini’s came from behind to edge the Bellingham Bells 3 to 2 in Pacific Metro League action at Capilano Stadium. Earlier, McKee had crossed the dish with Puccini’s initial counter on Al Watson’s single and then tripled in the tying tally in the eighth canto.

(May 23)  Steve Hynek pitched Surrey Sports to a 2 to 1 win over the New Westminster Auroras at Queen’s Park Stadium in one of four Pacific Metro League games. Hynek, who allowed only two hits, singled home Bob McAuley with the tying run in the-top-of-the-ninth inning. Grant Wells then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home John Cole with the ultimate winner.

At Capilano Stadium, Puccini’s nosed out the previously-undefeated Pharaohs 3 to 2 on John Haar’s eighth-inning home run. Teammate Henry Somers had a two-for-three performance at the plate. Darryl Fenton nailed a solo four-bagger for the Pharaohs.

In other games, Burnaby beat Bellingham 2 to 1 and Richmond downed North Shore 4 to 3.

(May 27)  Pharaohs  2 - North Shore  1

(May 28)  The Vancouver Puccini’s scored three time in the fourth inning to defeat Richmond Fraser Arms 5 to 1. Russ McKee tripled and singled for the victors while Stu Winrob singled three times for Fraser Arms.

(June 2)  Sparked by the clutch hitting of outfielder Dick Burns, the North Vancouver Mountaineers upset Vancouver Puccini’s 3 to 2 at Capilano Stadium. Burns drove in the tying and winning runs with a two-out single in the fifth inning to overcome a 2 to 1 lead by the Italian Eatery. It was his third hit of the game. Winning pitcher Rob Schwab checked Puccini’s on three hits after coming on in relief in the third inning. Losing tosser Terry Dreger fanned 13 North Shore batters but was tagged for eight safeties.

Wayne Martin doubled home Ossie Chavarria in the tenth inning as the New Westminster Auroras edged the Bellingham Bells 4 to 3 at Queen’s Park Stadium.

(June 3)  Vancouver Puccini’s and Surrey Sports padded their leads atop the Capilano and Fraser Divisions by capturing wins in the Pacific Metro Baseball League.

The Puccini’s improved their record to 6 – 2 with a 12th inning 6 to 4 victory over the New Westminster Auroras at Queen’s Park Stadium. Russ McKee provided the winning hit, a leadoff circuit-clout in the top-of-the-twelfth while Steve Pettifer doubled in an insurance run later in the inning.

Meanwhile, the Surrey Sports downed the Burnaby Barons 5 to 2 at Central Park to bring their record to 4 – 2 for the season. Larry Purcha drove in four of the runs with a pair of hits while teammate Wayne Soroka provided the fifth Surrey counter with a a solo dinger in the eighth.

In the night’s other game, the Bellingham Bells whipped the visiting North Shore Mountaineers 15 to 7.

(June 4)  Larry Purcha had three hits and three RBI’s to lead Surrey Sports to a 6 to 3 Pacific Metro League win over the Vancouver Pharaohs at Whalley Stadium. Darryl Fenton picked up four safeties for the vanquished nine.

(June 6)  Warren Coughlin and Rick Bultitude each homered to lead the second-place Pharaohs to a 4 to 2 victory over Puccini’s, the Capilano Division leaders. Keith Wilson gave up five hits in earning the knoll triumph while his teammates managed 12 hits in their winning cause.

At Whalley, Wayne Soroka had two hits, including a game-winning triple, and Bob Tansaker was two-for-three as Surrey Sports defeated the New Westminster Auroras 4 to 3 behind the pitching of John Mickey. Randy Weins was tagged with the loss. The Royal City squad was paced offensively by Ted Springenatic who had three safeties and Neil Mansell who added a pair.

Richmond, scoring all of their runs in the third inning, downed the North Shore Mountaineers 8 to 6 at Brighouse Park. Stu Winrob hit a two-run ding dong for the winners while North Shore’s Dave Schwab replied with taters in both the fourth and fifth frames.

(June 8)  Playing-manager Ossie Chavarria came up with a clutch hitting performance at Queen’s Park Stadium to spark the New Westminster Auroras to a 6 to 5 victory over the Vancouver Pharaohs in Pacific Metro Baseball League play. Chavarria was two-for-four at the plate, drove in a run and scored the winning marker in the bottom-of-the-seventh chapter. Winning flinger Nick Mitchell helped his own cause when, with the Auroras trailing 5 to 3, he started a comeback rally by tripling to drive in Mark Lehman and later scored himself on a error to tie the game.
At Bellingham, Vancouver Puccini’s rallied for three runs in the top-of-the-ninth inning but fell one run short as the Bells recorded a 6 to 5 triumph. Outfielder Terry Stein was the top hitter for Puccini’s with a double, triple and four RBI’s.

(June 10)  The Vancouver Pharaohs got strong hitting performances from Terry Schuss, Al Forman and Mike White en route to a 6 to 4 Pacific Metro Baseball League victory over the Bellingham Bells at Capilano Stadium. Schuss registered three safeties, Forman drove in two runs with a pair of hits and White slammed a two-run double. Rick Kite picked up the bump verdict for the Vancouverites.

At Queen’s Park Stadium, Rick Mosher pitched a four-hitter as Richmond nosed out the New Westminster Auroras 1 to 0. Losing chucker Greg Lindsay also yielded only four safeties but a couple of ninth-inning errors by the Auroras set the table for Richmond’s Barry Ayres who delivered a two-out double to drive in Tom Bird with the game’s lone run.

Vancouver Puccini’s and the Burnaby Barons fought to a ten-inning 3 – 3 tie at Central Park in a game terminated by darkness. Al Watson drove in all the Puccini’s counters with a two-run homer and a single while the Barons’ Ken Rath had a brace of RBI’s. 

(June 12-13)  Surrey Sports unleashed a 14-hit barrage Saturday then relied upon John Mickey’s one-hit pitching Sunday en route to a pair of weekend Pacific Metro League victories at Whalley Stadium. Norm Caig’s fifth hit of the game drove in the winning run in the Saturday affair as Surrey erupted for four runs in the ninth inning  to overcome the North Shore Mountaineers 11 to 10. Caig and Rick Houghton each drove in three Surrey tallies. Gord Johnson’s solo homer in the sixth stanza was all the backing that Mickey needed in the Sunday tilt as Surrey blanked the Burnaby Barons 3 to 0. The add-on counters for the Sports followed Johnson’s blast as Larry Purcha tripled in a run then scored on Syd Sharp’s double. Mickey’s no-hit bid was snapped in the eighth canto when Burnaby’s Dan Jukich singled.

In other Sunday action, Vancouver Puccini’s bombed Richmond Frasers 11 to 3, Vancouver Pharaohs dumped the North Shore Mountaineers 5 to 1 and the Bellingham Bells downed the New Westminster Auroras 7 to 2. Al Watson swung the big bat for Puccini’s at Brighouse Park, driving in five runs on four hits. Les Babuin copped the complete-game win, fanning six while surrendering seven safeties. Terry Stein of the victors and Richmond’s Stu Winrob both collected a brace of two-baggers.

Brant Wragg scattered five hits in pitching the Pharaohs to their victory. Gary Hatch unloaded a seventh-inning grand-slam homer to give the Bells their win at Queen’s Park Stadium.

(June 17)  The Vancouver Pharaohs topped Vancouver Puccini’s 4 to 2 in a battle of Capilano Division leaders at Capilano Stadium. Keith Wilson went the distance on the mound for the winners, allowing ten hits one of which was a homer to John Haar. Rick Bultitude drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to snap a 2 – 2 tie in the sixth stanza to provide the impetus for the Pharaoh’s ninth win of the season.

At Queen’s Park Stadium, Dale Ramsay clouted a grand-slam home run in the bottom-of-the-ninth inning to lead the New Westminster Auroras to an 8 to 4 decision over the Burnaby Barons and a share of second place in the Fraser Division with the Bellingham Bells. Both teams have 7 – 7 records. Don Gurniak’s two-run dinger had boosted Burnaby into a 3 to 0 lead in the third inning. Ramsay’s winning blast, which highlighted a five-run ninth, came after Ossie Chavarria had singled in the tying marker earlier in the inning.

In another Fraser Division clash, Steve Hynek won his third game in three decisions as he pitched Surrey Sports to a 2 to 1 win over the Bells in Bellingham. Syd Sharp’s sixth-inning single with the bases loaded drove in Ron Diack with the run that turned out to be the winner as Surrey brought its Division-leading record to 9 – 1.

(June 19-20)  Vancouver’s two entries, the Pharaohs and Puccini’s, kept winning in the Capilano Division while the lowly Burnaby Barons upset Fraser Division-leading Surrey Sports to highlight weekend action in the Pacific Metro Baseball League.

Al Forman had three safe swats and Mike White singled in the winning run in the eighth inning as the Pharaohs edged the North Shore Mountaineers 4 to 3 at Cap Stadium Saturday. Jim Rentmeester earned the pitching win for the Pharaohs while North Shore reliever Bill Bazaluk was nailed with the loss. The New Westminster Auroras beat the hosting Bellingham Bells 5 to 2 in Saturday’s other match. The Royal City crew fought back from a 2 to 1 deficit, putting up a three-spot on the scoreboard in the fifth, to make Mark Lehman a mound winner. Ted Springenatic’s double and a three-bagger off the bat of Paul Watson were the significant blows registered by the Auroras in their big inning.

Jim Nedelak threw a three-hit shutout and Ron Petersen drove in two runs as Puccini’s beat the Richmond Frasers 3 to 0 at Capilano Stadium on Sunday to stay even in their first-place fight with the Pharaohs.
The Barons, in last-place in the Fraser Division, erupted for three runs in the sixth inning on Ron Masson’s two-run double and Brian Lownsbrough’s run-scoring single to nose out front-running Surrey 6 to 5 at Central Park. Junior League call-up John Gordon struck out eight in recording the knoll victory for Burnaby while Surrey’s John Mickey absorbed the defeat.

(June 21)  The North Shore Mountaineers erupted for five runs in the bottom-of-the-seventh inning to defeat the Bellingham Bells 5 to 1 at Capilano Stadium. Roy Melvin’s bases-loaded single drove in the first two runs then Andy Salt delivered another one-bagger later in the frame that pushed across another pair of tallies. Rain halted the game in the eighth inning.

(June 22)  John Haar drilled a two-run single in the eighth inning to lead Vancouver Puccini’s to a 6 to 4 Metro Baseball League victory over the New Westminster Auroras at Queen’s Park Stadium. The Puccini’s trailed 4 to 1 entering the eighth but scored four times, capped by Haar’s timely bingle, with the aid of two walks and a New Westminster error. The catcher-skipper of the Restaurateurs finished with three safeties as did Paul Watson of the Auroras. Playing-manager Ossie Chavarria of the Royal City nine picked up a solo tater.

(June 23)  Surrey Sports jumped on Vancouver Pharaohs for six early runs and then held on for a 6 to 5 Metro League win at Capilano Stadium. It was their 10th win in 12 games. Rick Houghton led off the game with a solo homer and Larry Purcha knocked in what turned out to be the winning marker during a three-run fourth inning as Surrey took a 6 to 0 lead. Houghton clipped the orb for two other hits to finish with three safeties. Steve Hynek, in relief of starter John Mickey, was credited with his fourth pitching win despite giving up a three-run homer to Warren Smith in the fifth frame when the Pharaohs scored five times.

(June 24)  The Vancouver Pharaohs, behind the five-hit pitching of Brant Wragg, edged the Richmond Frasers 3 to 2 at Capilano Stadium. Rick Bultitude and Bill Jackson each got to losing portsider Dennis Zinio for two hits with Jackson driving in the ultimate winning counter in the second panel.

(June 25)  Burnaby  6 - Richmond  0
                 Surrey  5 - Bellingham  0

(June 27)  Late-inning dramatics salvaged the Richmond Frasers an unexpected 7 to 6 Pacific Metro Baseball League victory from the Capilano Division-leading Vancouver Pharaohs at Brighouse Park. The Pharaohs, who accumulated a 6 to 0 lead through 7-1/2 innings, saw the margin quickly vanish in the bottom-of-the-eighth as the Frasers scored six times with Tom Bird, who finished with three safeties, belting the key blow, a three-run triple. Then, Howie Stephens capped Richmond’s uphill struggle, knocking home pinch-runner Dennis Zinio for the winning run in the eleventh inning. Dave Steele recorded the knoll triumph, striking out seven and walking six.

Surrey Sports kept winning in the Fraser Division using similar late-game heroics to dispose of the Bellingham Bells 8 to 5 at Whalley Stadium. The win brought Surrey’s record to 12 – 2. Trailing 4 to 0 at one point, Surrey erupted for a five-spot in the eighth canto with Larry Purcha and Stu Graham each knocking in two runs. Tom Chartrand started the Sports off with a two-run round-tripper in the fourth.

The New Westminster Auroras, behind Randy Weins’ two-hitter, downed the Burnaby Barons 4 to 0 in Sunday’s other game at Queen’s Park Stadium. Ossie Chavarria was three-for-four at the plate for the victors.

(June 28)  Dave Schwab allowed only three hits and struck out six batters to help power the last-place North Shore Mountaineers to a convincing 7 to 0 blanking of the Capilano Division pace-setting Puccini’s. Schwab, who had a no-hitter going at Cap Stadium into the eighth inning, aided his cause at the plate with two singles and an RBI. Teammates Dick Burns and Len Gamlin also stung the sphere for a brace of safeties. Les Babuin was the losing chucker.

(June 30)  Two of the four Schwab brothers on the North Shore Mountaineers played leading roles in their club’s upset victory over the Vancouver Pharaohs at Capilano Stadium. Rob Schwab, despite needing relief help from Bill Bazaluk in the sixth inning, was the winning pitcher while Dave Schwab’s eighth-inning bases-loaded single drove in two runs as North Shore won 8 to 3. Dick Burns also drove in a brace of tallies for the Mountaineers while Terry Schuss had a two-run homer for the Pharaohs.

(July 2)  Surrey Sports and the Vancouver Puccini’s split a Pacific Metro Baseball League doubleheader at Capilano Stadium.  Surrey took the opener 4 to 0 as Steve Hynek pitched a five-hit shutout. Rick Houghton laced three hits for the winners in this contest.  The Italian Restaurateurs roared back to trounce the Fraser Division front-runners 8 to 2 in the follow-up affair.

(July 4)  The Victoria Senior Amateur Baseball League All-Stars battered Vancouver Puccini’s of the Pacific Metro Baseball League 10 to 3 and 10 to 5 to sweep an exhibition doubleheader at Capilano Stadium. Rick Mark, who played last season for the Vancouver Capilanos, and Garnet Moen each had three hits and two RBI’s for the Capital City Crew in the opener. Mark drove in three more counters in the second encounter with a bases-loaded triple. Victoria’s Dan Rogers had a three-run round-tipper in this game as well.

(July 5)  The New Westminster Auroras moved to within four games of Fraser Division-leading Surrey at Whalley Park by downing the Sports 10 to 2. Playing-manager Ossie Chavarria had a huge night at the plate for the Auroras, clipping the horsehide for four safeties in four tries, three of those swats being home runs. In total, the 38-year old skipper and former major-leaguer drove in six runs. Teammate Wayne Martin contributed another two hits including a three-run, four-bagger. Greg Lindsay pitched the win for New Westminster which ran its record to 9 – 8 for the campaign.

In the Capilano Division, the North Shore Mountaineers swept a 9 to 4 and 11 to 10 doubleheader from the Richmond Frasers to move into third place. Dave Schwab was the winning pitcher in both games, each time as a reliever. Len Gamlin led the North Shore attack in the opener with three hits, good for five RBI’s while Stu Winrob had two hits for Richmond. In the late tussle, Andy Salt and Bill Gurvich each drove in a pair of counters for the Mountaineers as the Frasers’ Rich Gruhn and Rick Miller responded with a brace of safeties each.

(July 6)  The Vancouver Pharaohs regained first place in the Capilano Division of the Pacific Metro Baseball League by defeating their intra-city rivals, Vancouver Puccini’s, 4 to 3 at Cap Stadium. Brant Wragg, with solid relief help from Keith Wilson in the seventh stanza, was the winning pitcher, earning the decision over Terry Dreger. Ron Frederick, Rick Bultitude and Warren Coughlin each collected two hits for the winners. With the win, the Pharaohs record improved to 12 – 8, a half-game ahead of the 11 – 8 Restaurateurs.

Burnaby pitchers struggled with control issues and it cost them when they locked horns with the Fraser Division-leading Surrey aggregation. The 14 - 4 Sports came from behind an early 2 to 0 deficit to clip the Barons 7 to 2 at Whalley Stadium. Numerous bases-on-balls set the table for Surrey hitters to cash in runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Steve Hynek threw a six-hitter to grab the hurling verdict for the Sports. Rick Houghton clubbed a solo home run for the victors.

At Queen’s Park Stadium, Ossie Chavarria continued his hot hand with the lumber as he went three-for-five with three RBI’s in leading the New Westminster Auroras past the Bellingham Bells 9 to 5.

(July 8)  Syd Sharp’s two-run double in the eighth inning snapped a 2 – 2 tie and led the Surrey Sports to a 4 to 2 Pacific Metro Baseball League win over the Richmond Frasers at Whalley Stadium. Surrey, the top team in the Fraser Division play, now boasts a 15 – 4 record. Pitcher Gord Johnson allowed six hits in taking the victory. Rich Houghton’s seventh-inning solo homer had tied the game 2 – 2 before Sharp’s game-deciding swat  the next inning. In other Metro action, Roy Melvin’s two-run single in the sixth spasm was the difference as the North Shore Mountaineers edged the Burnaby Barons 2 to 1 at Central Park.

(July 10-11)  Teams from the Pacific Metro Baseball League won 9 of 14 games played during the weekend with Washington-state clubs, representing the Western International Baseball League, as the two circuits squared off in interlocking action for the first time this season.

The action got underway on Saturday at Capilano Stadium where Vancouver Puccini’s swept a twin-bill, 5 to 2 and 3 to 2, over the Cheney WA Studs. A two-hitter by Puccini’s tosser Jim Nedelak in the nightcap was the highlight of the twin-triumphs.

Sunday saw six doubleheaders played, four of them at venues south of the border. At Whalley Stadium, the hitting of Wayne Soroka and Rick Houghton sparked Surrey Sports to a double-dip sweep over Richmond WA by scores of 10 to 3 and 6 to 3. Soroka and Gord Johnson belted solo homers while Houghton and Tom Chartrand both hit doubles in the first game to support winning flinger John Mickey, who went the distance. Soroka launched another solo tater in the second contest while Houghton banged a two-run dinger and a double as Gord Williams copped the knoll decision.

The New Westminster Auroras split with the Everett WA Twins, losing the first game 3 to 2 at Queen’s Park Stadium before edging the visitors 3 to 2 in the finale.

The North Shore Mountaineers divided the spoils with Bellevue WA, winning 4 to 3 on Rob Schwab’s six-hitter before falling 1 to 0 in the hosts in the late tilt.

The lowly Burnaby Barons also split their doubleheader with Mount Vernon Skagit Valley Farmers, dropping the matinée event 4 to 1 but rebounding to win 4 to 3 at Mount Vernon. Ron Masson was three-for-five at the plate for the Barons in the nightcap and drove in the winning run.

At Seattle, the Vancouver Pharaohs split with the Seattle Adairs, losing 3 to 2 and winning 6 to 0, while the Richmond Frasers also halved the triumphs with the Cheney WA Studs at Edmonds Community College, losing 5 to 1 and then coming out as 2 to 0 winners on the strength of Rick Mosher’s four-hitter.

(July 13)  North Shore pitcher Dave Schwab won his own Pacific Metro League game at Capilano Stadium, smashing a game-winning two-run homer as the Mountaineers downed the Richmond Frasers 5 to 3. Schwab’s seventh-inning clout snapped a 2 – 2 tie. Bill Bazaluk set down a potential Richmond rally in the eighth panel to preserve the win for Schwab.

Whalley Stadium was the scene of a Fraser Division slugfest in which Surrey Sports outswatted the New Westminster Auroras 7 to 6. The plethora of big hits began in the second stanza when Rick Houghton cracked a grand-slam ding-dong for Surrey. Ossie Chavarria replied with a solo tater in the fifth for New Westminster and teammate Ted Springenatic added a three-run shot in the eighth to tie the game 6 – 6. The game-deciding hit came in the bottom-of-the-ninth when Syd Sharp singled home Houghton for the Surrey walkoff win.

(July 14)  The Pharaohs moved to within a half-game of Puccini’s in the Capilano Division pennant race by stopping the front-runners 9 to 3 at Capilano Stadium. Al Forman gave the winners their biggest boost at the plate, collecting four hits in six trips including a bases-loaded triple. Terry Stein cracked a solo homer for the Italian Ristorante. Brant Wragg, with relief assistance from Keith Wilson, copped the hillock verdict over Larry Mann.

(July 15)  Surrey  7 - Vancouver Puccini’s  1

(July 16)  Outhit 12 to 11 by their competition, the Vancouver Pharaohs capitalized on the long ball and went on to defeat the Burnaby Barons 12 to 8 at Central Park. Both teams used virtually their entire stable of pitchers, none of them very effective. Dialing long distance on the slants of the half-dozen Burnaby tossers they faced were Pharaoh swatsmiths Rick Bultitude, with a two-run tater, and Al Forman with a three-run dinger. Teammate Ron Turner chipped in with  triad of safeties which produced three RBI’s. Stan Meloche had the Barons’ key hits, including a three-run circuit-jack in the seventh stanza, and finisher with four RBI’s.

At Queen’s Park Stadium, it was a different story as New Westminster Auroras’ pitcher Randy Weins rang up 17 punchouts in hurling a 3 to 0 eight-hit shutout over the North Shore Mountaineers.

(July 17-18)  Pacific Metro Baseball League teams managed only two wins in eight weekend interlocking games with members of the Western International Baseball League.

Saturday, prior to the inter-league hook-ups, an all-Vancouver joust at Capilano Stadium saw the Pharaohs emerge as 9 to 4 winners over their Capilano-Division rivals, Puccini’s. A three-run four-bagger by Rick Bultitude was the game-changer in this tilt.

Sunday at Cap Stadium, Everett WA baseballers swept a 3 to 1, 4 to 1 doubleheader over Puccini’s, while at Central Park in Burnaby, the Seattle Adairs dumped the homestanding Barons 15 to 1 and 6 to 0. Catcher Al Watson accounted for Puccini’s lone run in the second tilt with a solo dinger.

Meanwhile, Richmond’s Rick Mosher pitched the Frasers to a 4 to 2 victory over Kirkland WA at Brighouse Park. A grand-slam four-bagger by Walt Cugan sparked the visitors to an 11 to 4 win in the second contest. The Vancouver Pharaohs divided a two-game set at Redmond WA, winning the first skirmish 6 to 3 and losing the second tussle 4 to 2.

(July 19)  Phil Brissette doubled in a pair of tallies and teammates Syd Sharp and Ken Myette each drove in a pair with singles as Surrey Sports improved their record to 21 – 5 by whipping the North Shore Mountaineers 7 to 3 in a Pacific Metro League scuffle at Mahon Park. Bob McAuley also contributed significantly to the Surrey offense, stroking three safeties off losing chucker Jeff Lundine. Gord Williams picked up the complete-game pitching win.

(July 20)  The Burnaby Barons and Vancouver Puccini’s split a Pacific Metro League doubleheader at Capilano Stadium after completing a suspended tie-game of June 10 that had been halted by rain.

Puccini’s won the extended game 5 to 3 when Pete Thiessen delivered a two-run double in the eleventh inning.
The Italian Eatery then proceeded to blast the Barons 8 to 0 in the first game of the scheduled twin-bill as Larry Mann tossed a three-hitter and Russ McKee drove in a pair of runs with three base hits. However, Burnaby avoided the sweep by copping the nightcap 6 to 3 as Ken Bjarnson scattered six hits and struck out 13. Ron Masson sparked the Barons’ hitting attack with a bases-loaded triple in the second inning and a run-scoring single in the seventh. Terry Stein of Puccini’s lit up Bjarnson for a two-run dinger in the fifth frame.

(July 22)  The Vancouver Puccini’s capitalized on 15 walks issued by New Westminster pitchers to smear the Auroras 10 to 2 at Cap Stadium. Steve Pettifer had three hits for Puccini’s in support of winning pitcher Jim Nedelak. Mark Lehman was saddled with the loss.

Meanwhile, at Central Park, Tom Bird cracked a two-run homer to lead Richmond Fraser Arms to an 11 to 8 conquest of the Burnaby Barons. Stan Meloche flexed his muscles for the Barons as he blasted the horsehide for a pair of round-trippers, driving across five counters. Don Gurniak had a third four-bagger for the vanquished nine, a solo shot.

(July 23)  The Vancouver Pharaohs increased their lead atop the Capilano Division to 1-1/2 games over runner-up Vancouver Puccini’s by blanking Fraser Division-leading Surrey Sports 4 to 0 at Cap Stadium. Keith Wilson scattered nine hits and punched out seven for the pitching win while Nick Miller scored a pair of runs and batted in two more for the victors.

(July 24-25)  Ten  Metro League clashes were run off during a busy weekend.  Saturday’s first-game action at Capilano Stadium pitted New Westminster against Richmond with the Auroras from the Royal City prevailing 2 to 0 as winning chucker Randy Weins fanned nine in taking the shutout mound victory. Don Herman had the only extra-base hit for the winners in this low-scoring affair, a first-inning double.

In another Saturday test at the same facility, Bill Bazaluk was nicked for 11 hits but picked up the knoll victory with relief help from Dave Schwab as the North Shore Mountaineers clipped the Bellingham Bells 6 to 4. Len Gamlin of North Shore and Bellingham’s Dave Storrer both cuffed the horsehide for a trio of safe swats. Six of the eight games played on Sunday were decided by one run, including all four contests held at Cap Stadium in which each were won in the last inning.

Two of the Sunday thrillers were at the expense of North Shore who were 8 to 7 and 4 to 3 losers to Vancouver Puccini’s. Steve Pettifer singled in two runs in the last-of-the-seventh as Puccini’s rallied to win the opener after Dave Schwab’s solo homer in the top of the inning had put the Mountaineers in front 7 to 6. Dick Burrows finished with two triples and four RBI’s for the vanquished nine while Terry Stein cracked a two-run circuit-blast for the Restaurateurs in the fourth. In the nightcap, Henry Somers singled home Stein with the winner in the bottom-of-the-twelfth. Earlier, John Haar had put the Italian Eatery in front 3 to 2 with a three-run ding-dong.

The last-inning heroics continued Sunday night at the same venue as the Vancouver Pharaohs and Richmond Frasers split a doubleheader, each winning 3 to 2. Al Forman’s bases-loaded single in the seventh inning gave the Pharaohs the opener after Howie Stephen’s two-run single had tied the affair in the top of the stanza. Stephens delivered a run-scoring swat in the nightcap to drive in the winner for the Frasers after teammate Morrie L’Heureux had plated a pair of tallies with a three-bagger.

At Queen’s Park Stadium, Nick Mitchell pitched a five-hit shutout as the New Westminster Auroras shaded Surrey Sports 1 to 0 in the first-half of a twin-bill. Wayne Martin drove in Don Herman with the game’s lone marker in the fifth frame. Surrey rebounded to annex the late fracas 3 to 2 and, in doing so, clinched first-place in the Fraser Division. John Mickey picked up the title-clinching win with relief help from Steve Hynek and Gord Williams. Auroras’ slabster, Brad McArthur who rang up ten punchouts, was tagged with the loss. The Bellingham Bells captured 4 to 2 and 4 to 1 conquests of the Burnaby Barons at Central Park in Sunday’s other two-game set.

(July 26)  Vancouver foes, Puccini’s and the Pharaohs, continued their battle for supremacy in the tight Capilano Division race at the expense of Richmond at Cap Stadium. In a three-team double-dip, each disposed of the visiting Frasers. Terry Stein clubbed a two-run homer to spark Puccini’s, with winning flinger John Haar on the knoll, to a 8 to 3 conquest over Richmond after the Pharaohs’ Brian Morgan had tossed an 8 to 1 victory in the matinée tilt. 

(July 27)  Larry Purcha pounded out four hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs to spark the Surrey Sports to an 11 to 3 Pacific Metro League win over the North Shore Mountaineers at Capilano Stadium. Wayne Soroka, who had two hits and reached base six times, scored five runs for Surrey. The Mountaineers’ Len Gamlin had a two-run double off the slants of winning flinger Gord Johnson.

(July 28)  Len Gamlin knocked in four runs with a pair of hits as the North Shore Mountaineers moved to within one victory of a Pacific Metro Baseball League playoff berth by defeating the New Westminster Auroras 6 to 2 at Cap Stadium. A second game between the clubs was rained out in the fourth inning and will be replayed.

(July 30 - August 2)  B. C. Senior Amateur Baseball championship tournament

(August 3)  Bellingham  6 - Richmond  0

(August 4)  Nick Miller walloped a bases-loaded triple in the sixth inning, the drove in the winning run in the seventh stanza to lead the Vancouver Pharaohs to an 8 to 7 Pacific Metro Baseball League victory over the New Westminster Auroras at Capilano Stadium. Miller’s hitting capped an uphill struggle for the Pharaohs who rallied for seven runs in the final two innings  after trailing 7 to 1. The victory for the Pharaohs assured them of at least a tie for first place in the Capilano Division.

The Vancouver Puccini’s, meanwhile, stayed a half-game back of their city cousins, blanking the Bellingham Bells 6 to 0 on Jim Nedelak’s four-hit pitching.

(August 5)  New Westminster  1 - Burnaby  0
                   New Westminster 10 - Richmond  3

[Results of the remainder of regular-season games and quarter-final playoff games played between August 6 and August 20 not known as editions of Vancouver Sun and Province currently unavailable for that time span.  It appears that all eight teams qualified for the playoffs and that a crossover system was used wherein the highest-ranked team from one division locked horns with the lowest-seeded club from the other division.

Upon examining the surviving squads involved in semi-final play, at least one upset took place with the cellar-dwelling occupants from the Fraser Division, the Burnaby Barons, having eliminated the first-place Vancouver Pharaohs of the Capilano Division.

Vancouver Puccini’s appeared to have ousted the Bellingham Bells, Surrey Sports bounced the Richmond Frasers and the North Shore Mountaineers disposed of the New Westminster Auroras in other first-round match-ups.]

SEMI-FINALS  Burnaby Barons vs North Shore Mountaineers and Vancouver Puccini’s vs Surrey Sports  (best-of-three series)

(August 24)  Surrey Sports and the Burnaby Barons were winners as the rain-delayed Pacific Metro Baseball League semi-finals began at Capilano Stadium.  In the opening game, Surrey overcame 4 to 0 and 5 to 1 deficits, finally emerging with a 7 to 6 victory. The Sports plated four runs in the seventh inning to deadlock the score at 5 – 5. Wayne Soroka’s two-run single was the key hit during this uprising. After Puccini’s took a 6 to 5 lead in the top-of-the-ninth, Surrey rallied for a deuce in the final turn at bat as Soroka scored on a passed ball and Ken Myette crossed the plate with the winner on a wild pitch. Soroka had three RBI’s in a two-hit batting performance while teammate Rick Houghton collected three safeties.

The Barons, who entered the playoffs with the league’s worst record but then upset the Vancouver Pharaohs in the first round, continued their surprising play, blanking the North Shore Mountaineers 5 to 0. Ray Rigolo tossed a three-hitter and struck out 12 in pitching the route-going victory while clubmates Don Gurniak and Ron Masson provided offensive support with two hits apiece.

(August 25)  The surprising Burnaby Barons swept the North Shore Mountaineers out of the Pacific Metro Baseball League playoffs at Capilano Stadium. The Barons, whose regular-season record was abysmal, have now qualified for the league finals after upsetting the Vancouver Pharaohs and North Shore in the quarter and semi-final rounds. Ray Rigolo, the designated hitter, drove in the winning run in the last-of-the-seventh spasm as the Barons withstood a late charge for a 6 to 5 win and a series’ sweep. Trailing 5 to 0, North Shore fought back to tie the game after a solo dinger by Len Gamlin in the fourth frame and a four-run outburst in the fifth. Ken Bjarnason went the distance on the bump for the hurling triumph as teammate Stan Dean topped the Burnaby hitters with with a double and single.

Jim Nedelak pitched a four-hitter and fanned seven while Ron Petersen drove in three runs with three hits as Puccini’s downed Surrey Sports 6 to 2 to even the other semi-final series at a game apiece.

(August 29)  Surrey Sports advance to the Pacific Metro Baseball League finals by blanking Vancouver Puccini’s 5 to 0 in the third and deciding game in their semi-final series. Gord Williams pitched the shutout for Surrey who got the only run they needed in the first inning when Kevin Kelicki, the second batter up, launched a solo home run.

FINALS  Burnaby Barons vs Surrey Sports  (best-of-three series)

(August 29)  The upstart Burnaby Barons moved to within one victory of the Pacific Metro Baseball League crown by topping Fraser Division champion Surrey Sports 3 to 1 in the opening game of the league finals at Cap Stadium. Ray Rigolo pitched the Barons to victory with a three-hitter. Don Gurniak and Ray Marshall both had run-scoring singles for the winners while Glen Chidlow belted a seventh-inning solo home run to provide an insurance counter for the Barons.

(August 30)  After dropping a 4 to 1 decision to Surrey Sports to begin the evening, the Burnaby Barons climaxed a meteoric playoff rise by scoring three times in the top-of-the-seventh inning to defeat Surrey 5 to 3 at Capilano Stadium to capture the 1976 Pacific Metro Baseball League championship.

Brian Unruh pitched the Sports to the series-tying win in the opener, a must-win situation for the Fraser Division titlists, as teammate Wayne Soroka stroked three hits and scored twice.  

In the series-deciding rubber-match which followed, Unruh was summoned to ascend the knoll in relief of Surrey starter Mike Lahaise in the fifth but ran out of gas in the crucial seventh, issuing three bases-on-balls, one of which forced in the winning run. Burnaby’s Don Gurniak and Stan Dean both clubbed singled off Unruh in the decisive seventh as well. With a pair of safeties and an RBI, Gurniak provided the major offensive support for winning tosser Ray Rigolo in the rags-to-riches clincher. 


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