Tritons earn split against visiting Pirates

The ball skips past White Rock Tritons’ third baseman Jason Hill as he tries to tag out a Nanaimo Pirates baserunner during a Premier Baseball League doubleheader Sunday. - Gord Goble photo
The ball skips past White Rock Tritons’ third baseman Jason Hill as he tries to tag out a Nanaimo Pirates baserunner during a Premier Baseball League doubleheader Sunday.
— image credit: Gord Goble photo

While youngsters across the Peninsula were hunting for Easter eggs Sunday, the White Rock Tritons were at South Surrey Athletic Park searching for wins.

They found just one, winning the first game of a BC Premier Baseball League doubleheader against the visiting Nanaimo Pirates, to improve their early-season record to 2-5.

The win was the first since April 12 for the White Rock squad, which is seeking a return to the playoffs for the first time in five years. A scheduled Thursday night doubleheader against the Vancouver Cannons was rained out, and the Tritons dropped a 6-2 game on the road to the high-powered Langley Blaze Tuesday night.

White Rock’s victory Sunday – by an 8-3 score – was keyed by some red-hot bats.

Catcher Dylan Yeager went 4-for-4 with two runs scored, a run-batted-in and a stolen base, while first baseman Tom Melenchuk crushed the team’s first home run of the season. Second baseman Liam Rihela also had a strong day at the plate, with a hit, two runs scored, and two walks.

Through seven games of the PBL season, Yeager – an Earl Marriott Secondary student – is hitting a red-hot .588.

The Tritons’ offence was especially potent in the early stages of the game, scoring five runs in the first two innings. They scored at least one run in the first five frames.

After Nanaimo opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the first inning – leadoff hitter North Rainey singled, stole second and later scored – the Tritons responded with an even better opening frame.

Shortstop Daniel Cassino and Rihela led off the game with back-to-back walks, and Yeager then singled to load the bases.

With Pavelick batting in the cleanup spot, at the dish, Cassino scored on a passed ball. One batter later, Rihela scored the go-ahead run on a Melenchuk sacrifice fly.

Rounding out the inning, Yeager scored the third run when he stole home.

The Pirates cut the lead to 3-2 in the second inning, when Dakota St. Laurent singled and scored two batters later, but the Tritons again responded in the bottom of the inning, scoring twice on a pair of unearned runs after two errors on the same play.

Scott Doucet was on the hill for the victors, going the distance, striking out eight Nanaimo batters over seven innings, while scattering eight hits and walking just one.

The second game of the twin bill did not go as well for White Rock, as the team managed just three runs and eight hits off Nanaimo pitcher Matthew Stevenson, who lasted seven innings, striking out just one.

But despite the low strikeout totals, White Rock batters couldn’t muster up much in the way off offence against Stevenson, who was called up from the Pirates’ U16 team for the game.

Yeager and left-fielder Juan Paez each had two hits to lead the team.

On the mound, it was pitcher-by-committee for the White Rock squad, which used six different hurlers in the game.

Zach Campagne – who was tagged with the loss – started on the mound, lasting three innings while giving up five runs and seven hits, before he was relieved by, in order, Keaton Edwards, Eric Broatch, Anthony Aiello, Jake Gill and Patrick van den Brink, none of whom pitched more than one inning.

Earlier in the week, White Rock was felled 6-2 by the Blaze, who got an 11-strikeout performance from starting pitcher Ryan Braun.

The Tritons had just six hits against Braun – led by a triple from Yeager and doubles by Pavelick and Melenchuk – while the Blaze were paced by third baseman Liam Wyatt, who went 2-for-4 with a home run.

The Tritons will have plenty of opportunities to get back into the win column this week, with six games between today (Tuesday) and Sunday afternoon.

Tonight, White Rock hosts the North Delta Blue Jays at South Surrey Athletic Park, and Thursday plays at home against Langley. On Saturday, the Tritons will play a doubleheader on home turf against the Whalley Chiefs, and Sunday will head to New Westminster’s Queens Park for two games against the Vancouver Cannons.

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