Sports

Tritons set sights on playoff spot

White Rock’s Joel Lamont throws a pitcher to a Nanaimo Pirates’ batter last month. - James Maclennan photo
White Rock’s Joel Lamont throws a pitcher to a Nanaimo Pirates’ batter last month.
— image credit: James Maclennan photo

Just a few weeks into summer, and the White Rock Tritons’ offence is heating up as the mercury rises.

The Premier Baseball League team went 3-1 last week, including going 1-1 Thursday in Victoria against the Mariners. The two teams played another two games Monday afternoon; all four contests were make-up games from earlier in the season. Monday’s tilts were played after press deadline.

“We’re definitely playing better than we were at the beginning of the season,” said Tritons coach Russ Smithson. “We’re 4-3 over the last seven, and we’ve done that against teams like Victoria and Nanaimo, who are top-three teams in the league.”

While the pitchers have been steady – “They’ve been OK lately, still keeping us in games,” Smithson said – the offence has been keyed by three players in particular, Jackson Temple, Brandon Novak and Josh Sigurdson.

In Thursday’s 9-4 win over the Mariners at South Surrey Athletic Park, Temple was 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBI, and in White Rock’s 4-3 loss to the Mariners in the other half of the doubleheader, he was even better, with three runs batted in.

Novak and Sigurdson, meanwhile, have each boosted their batting averages high enough to find themselves in the PBL’s top 10; Novak is batting .325, while Sigurdson sits at .324 and also leads the circuit in stolen bases, with 26.

“Hitting is contagious – you see one guy doing it, and you want to keep up and do the same thing,” said Smithson. “It’s been great – our team batting average is up more than 20 points the last few weeks.”

With just a few weeks left in the season, the Tritons have picked a good time to heat up.

They’re currently ninth in the 13-team PBL, and the top eight teams make the playoffs.

“We’re basically only one game out, so a couple wins here this week and it sets up nicely for us,” Smithson said.

“The boys are feeling confident right now. We have eight games left, and they know we probably have to win at least five of them to make it.”

 

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