Nolan Austin hits the game-winning home run on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Allen Douglas

Nolan Austin’s three-run blast in the 7th inning lifted the Kamloops NorthPaws to an 8-5 victory over the Nanaimo NightOwls on Save On Foods Family Day at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Nanaimo once again got out to an early lead. Garret Ostrander, Tobey Jackson, then Cody Hendriks hit consecutive two-out RBI singles in a row to put the visitors ahead 3-0 after the first frame.

NorthPaws starter Sean Heppner settled in and shut the NightOwls down through the next four innings, striking out five through five innings of work on the afternoon.

Sean Heppner struck out 5 Sunday afternoon. Photo: Allen Douglas

He got offensive support in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Jackson Forbes hit a lead-off single, then Tommy Green hit his third home run of the weekend to cut the lead to 3-2. NightOwls starter Garrett Goodall walked the next three NorthPaws batters to load the bases, then Ty Siffermann hit a two-RBI single to give the home side their first lead of the afternoon.


The NightOwls tied the game in the 6th inning. Xander Sielken drew a bases-loaded walk from NorthPaws righty Cam Sanderson to square it up at 5-5. Travis McDougall took over on the mound, and enduced the inning-ending double play to escape the jam. He allowed only one run in 1.2 innings of work to earn the win on the afternoon.

That run came in the 7th to give the visitors their second lead of the contest. JT Sokolove hit a lead-off single, stole second, then scored from second base on a sacrifice fly to deep centre field to make it 5-4 NightOwls.

However, the NorthPaws answered with their second four-running inning of the game in the bottom half. Green drew a lead-off walk, stole second for his team-leading 22nd swipe of the season, and was brought home by a Félix Chénier-Rondeau double to left field to tie the game. Robin Villeneuve then drew a walk to set up hometown heroics for Austin who clobbered the 2-0 offering from Kotaro Uchida for his second homer of the season, a three-run shot, to give the home side the eventual game-winning lead.


Kolby Lukinchuk came in to record the final six outs of the game and pick up his second save of the season and secure the win.

The NorthPaws head to Edmonton for a three-game mid-week series starting Tuesday and will return home to face the Wenatchee AppleSox for a weekend series on Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium beginning Friday, July 29.