White Rock Tritons nab just one win on road trip

White Rock Triton pitcher Patrick van den Brink throws a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader Sunday against the Okanagan A’s. - Warren Henderson photo
White Rock Triton pitcher Patrick van den Brink throws a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader Sunday against the Okanagan A’s.
— image credit: Warren Henderson photo

The BC Premier Baseball League season didn’t get off to a roaring start for the White Rock Tritons on the weekend.

The South Surrey-based U18 team – which is aiming for a winning season and playoff berth for the first time since 2009 – dropped three of four games to the Okanagan Athletics last weekend in Kelowna.

In the season-opener – and first game of a doubleheader – Saturday afternoon at Kelowna’s Elks Stadium, the Tritons led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. But, with one out, A’s Jarrid Young walked and, after advancing to second base after the next batter was hit by a pitch, later scored on a single to tie the game.

The game then moved to extra innings, but the tie was short-lived as Okanagan right-fielder Matt Brodt walked in the bottom of the eighth and four batters later – after a walk, wild pitch and a hit batter – scored the winning run.

Barry Caine was tagged with the loss for the visitors; the South  Surrey pitcher was the fourth pitcher of the game for the Tritons. Scott Doucet started, lasting four-and-one-third innings, allowing five hits and four runs while striking out one. Anthony Aiello and Keaton Edwards also saw time on the mound in the loss.

At the plate, White Rock was led by first baseman Tom Melenchuk, who had a triple and two runs-batted-in.

After giving up the late lead in the opening, the Tritons fared far better in the second game Saturday.

White Rock scored one run in the first inning – Jake Gill came around to score after being hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the inning – but then peppered Okanagan pitchers for three runs in each of the next three frames.

The Athletics responded with a big third inning, scoring six runs to chase White Rock starting pitcher Allen Hogg from the game, but despite tacking on single runs in the fourth and seventh innings, it was not enough to win.

Melenchuk – who hit .500 on the weekend – had three RBI, while veteran catcher Dylan Yeager went 2-for-3 with a triple.

Aiello, pitching in relief of Hogg, picked up the win, striking out a pair of A’s and allowing three hits in three-and-a-third innings.

While Saturday’s games were both relatively close contests, Sunday’s final two tilts were a little more wide open, with the home team winning the opener by a 12-5 margin, before capping the weekend with a 5-1 win.

In the first game, Okanagan scored at least one run in every inning, while the Tritons just manage just five hits off Athletic pitchers Easton Forrest and Hendrik Terwood.

White Rock pitcher Patrick van den Brink got the ball to start the game, lasting four innings before he was replaced by Jason Hill.

In the nightcap, the game was close in the early stages – Okanagan broke a scoreless tie in the third inning, when Trevor Lofstrom’s double scored a run.

The home team added three more in the fifth and one in the sixth to seal the win.

Offensively, White Rock struggled against Brodt, who was the distance for the Athletics, striking out eight while giving up just the one run.

Barry Caine was the team’s lone runner to cross the plate, scoring in the fifth inning after an error by the Athletics’ catcher.

Though they won just once, the Tritons did find success on the base paths, swiping a PBL-leading 15 bags in four games. Melenchuk and Caine each had four steals apiece.

This week is another busy one for the Tritons, who play tonight (Tuesday) against the Langley Blaze, and Thursday at home for a doubleheader against the Vancouver Cannons.

On Sunday, they host the Nanaimo Pirates for a pair of afternoon tilts at South Surrey Athletic Park.

Chiefs earn split

White Rock was the busiest of the three Surrey teams on the PBL’s opening weekend – the North Delta Blue Jays have yet to play – but the Whalley Chiefs did earn one win Saturday,

Hosting Vancouver at Whalley Athletic Park, the Chiefs edged the Cannons 4-3 thanks to a late surge.

Trailing 3-1, home team scored twice in the sixth and added the go-ahead run in the seventh to steal the win.

Andrew Callegari – pitching in relief of Max Williams – got the win for the Chiefs.

Whalley was not quite as lucky in the second game, losing 4-2.

The .500 start was an encouraging one for a young Whalley squad that, in the off-season, lost six would-be returnees to other organizations.

“Six players with one more year of eligibility left us for greener pastures,” said Chiefs general manager Paul Hargreaves. “Losing six guys hurt us. But we’re rebuilding and we have some good, young talent.”

The Chiefs will travel to North Delta Thursday to take on the Blue Jays, before returning to Whalley for a pair of games Sunday against the visiting Victoria Mariners.

– with files from Rick Kupchuk

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