White Rock Tritons infielder Jansen Crossley will be among the veterans counted on if the team is to make the BC PBL playoffs this season.

Tritons aim for good start to season

White Rock's BC Premier Baseball League team will look for a return to the post-season after narrowly missing last year.

After an Arizona road trip on which the White Rock Tritons gave their coach a glimpse of their offensive potential, Russ Smithson is hoping the success transfers to local diamonds as the BC Premier Baseball League schedule begins this month.

“It was a really good trip,” said Smithson, whose team played 10 games last month in Tucson and Phoenix, including five against older, college competition.

“It was an eye-opening trip for some of the guys, but we absolutely played our asses off down there. In our first three games we put up 11, 12 and 13 runs – we were hitting the crap out of the ball. The problem sometimes was that we just couldn’t stop them, either.”

While most PBL teams won’t begin regular-season play until this weekend – or the one after – the Tritons and North Shore Twins got a jump on the season last weekend, playing twice Saturday in North Vancouver. The Tritons lost both games, 7-1 and 18-13.

And though the South Surrey-based under-18 team currently sits with an 0-2 record, Smithson said his group is well aware of the pitfalls that come as a result of a slow start.

Last year, the Tritons started the year with a 3-18 record before battling back into the playoff mix. They finished the season with a 16-28 record, and narrowly missed earning the eighth and final playoff spot after losing both ends of a doubleheader against Abbotsford on the final weekend of the regular season.

The playoff miss came on the heels of a 2014 season that saw the club qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2009.

“We definitely don’t want to go down that road again,” said Smithson.

“We’ve got a pretty good schedule to start the year – we’re at home most of the time, and games are a little bit spread out so it’ll give us an opportunity to throw our best (pitchers) a few games in a row, so we won’t need to get down to our fourth and fifth starter for awhile.”

The Tritons will have a great chance to move up the standings in May, with a schedule that sees them play 15 of 16 games at South Surrey Athletic Park, with the lone road game taking place in Whalley.

Injuries played a major part in last year’s poor start, and while Smithson is crossing his fingers that his team will avoid the injury bug this season, it’s already bitten one player – Grade 11 catcher Jeremy Kelleway.

Kelleway suffered a stress fracture in preseason action, and is expected to be out about five weeks, Smithson said.

“It’s tough because he was slotted in to catch every day and hit fourth for us,” the coach said. “But hopefully, we’re still able to have better results this year than we did to start last season.”

While the pitching staff is among the youngest in the PBL with just two Grade 12s, Smithson said returnee Saylor Gray will be the arm they count on most.

“He’s been outstanding for us. We’re probably going to end up putting a lot on his shoulders and we’ll see how far he can carry us,” Smithson said. “And the younger guys are working really hard to get better. I’m confident in them, but I’ve also been around long enough to know that you have to pitch in this league to have success.

“It may take them a little bit of time – a month or so – to adjust to this level, but once they do that, I think they’ll be just fine.”

Other key returning players include Jason Hill – who has made the move from second base to shortstop – Jansen Crossley and Dawson Veeneman.

Smithson was especially keen to see Hill play shortstop after years – “his entire Tritons’ career” at second.

“He’s been awesome. I think he’s going to be one of the best shortstops in the province,” Smithson said. “He’s really put in the time, and worked really hard. Two years ago he could barely throw the ball across the diamond and now he’s humming it across.”

Smithson is also excited to see the progression of newcomer Quinn Hall, a power-hitting Grade 11 outfielder from Quesnel.

On the Arizona trip, he hit two home runs, “and smashed a couple more off the wall,” Smithson said.

Some of that power was on display last weekend against the Twins. In Game 2, he went 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple, two runs scored and three runs-batted-in, while also stealing two bases.

He’s tearing it up right now, and we think he can be a real impact guy for us,” Smithson said. “He’s got some serious power.”

The Tritons aren’t taking part in PBL regular-season action this weekend, but they’ll still be on the field – they’ll head to Kamloops for the Best of the West Tournament, which features PBL teams as well as a handful from Alberta.

White Rock will return to its PBL schedule Saturday, April 16 when they host the Victoria Mariners for two games at South Surrey Athletic Park.

BC Premier Baseball LeagueWhite Rock Tritons

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
Surrey Eagles in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for BCHL season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Most Read