White Rock Tritons take one from Langley Blaze

Langley Blaze second baseman Nick Rutckyj tags out a sliding Tony Tabor of the White Rock Tritons during the teams’ first game Sunday. - Boaz Joseph photo
Langley Blaze second baseman Nick Rutckyj tags out a sliding Tony Tabor of the White Rock Tritons during the teams’ first game Sunday.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph photo

After a slow start, the White Rock Tritons have started to creep up the BC Premier Baseball League standings after winning two of three games last week.

The Tritons opened the week with a 1-0 win last Tuesday over the Vancouver Cannons – a game in which UBC-bound pitcher Alex Webb allowed just two hits – and on Sunday, White Rock split a two-game series with the Langley Blaze at South Surrey Athletic Park. The Tritons lost the first game 8-1 before bouncing back to win the nightcap, 3-2.

Pitching was key in both White Rock victories. Against Vancouver Tuesday, Webb was dominant, striking out 11 of the 27 batters he faced. His performance made up for the team’s offence, which managed just one run, on a Matt Stevens sacrifice fly that scored Jackson Temple.

In Sunday’s win over the Blaze, Adam Shumka was equally strong on the mound, going the distance while striking out nine Langley batters, walking three and allowing only one earned run.

Langley got on the board first, when former Triton Preston Kokotailo scored on a single by Blaze teammate Mason Cratty in the top of the first inning.

White Rock responded in the bottom half of the frame, when Stevens doubled home leadoff hitter Tony Tabor and, one batter later, Brett Walker singled, scoring Temple, who had reached base on a walk.

The Tritons’ 2-1 lead held until the third inning, when both teams exchanged runs – Langley scored thanks to a two-error sequence by White Rock on a Greg Rodgers stolen-base attempt, and White Rock plated their run when Tabor, who also stole a base in the game, scored on a Langley fielding error.

Despite the lopsided score in Sunday’s opening contest, the game was winnable for White Rock until the last two innings.

The game remained scoreless until the fifth, when Langley scored one run, but the visiting squad broke the game open with four runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh.

White Rock’s Joel Lamont was tagged with the loss, after pitching five and two-thirds innings, striking out five and allowing six hits and four earned runs. He was relieved by Connor Kenwood for the final four outs.

Langley’s Justin Geerts was the winning pitcher, striking out six in six and two-thirds innings.

Offensively, the Tritons were led by catcher Evan Douglas and Stevens, each of whom had doubles.

White Rock now sits 10th in the 13-team PBL with a 3-5 win-loss record. They host the Abbotsford Cardinals tomorrow (Wednesday) at South Surrey Athletic Park, and play four road games this weekend. On Saturday, they travel to Nanaimo for a doubleheader against the Pirates, and Sunday they’re in Parksville to play two against the Royals.

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