The White Rock Tritons’ return to the BC Premier Baseball League playoffs was short-lived, after the team was bounced from the first round by the Victoria Mariners last weekend on Vancouver Island.
The Tritons – who had missed the PBL postseason each year since 2009 – lost the first two games of the best-of-three series Saturday, 5-1 and 8-1.
White Rock had headed into the round-of-eight as the No. 7 seed, having finished the regular season with a .500 record (24-24). They were also one of the league’s streakier teams as the regular season drew to a close, often following up a lengthy win streak with a losing streak of similar length, and vice versa.
Last weekend in Victoria, they simply couldn’t string enough offence together to win.
“Victoria’s a really good team, they’re tough,” said Tritons head coach Russ Smithson.
In Game 1, Victoria took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and after the two teams exchanged runs in the fifth – White Rock’s came via a solo home run from James Pavelick – the home team led by just one heading into the sixth inning.
After White Rock went three-up, three-down in the top of the sixth, the Mariners exploded for three runs, thanks to a pair of doubles, the first from Brett Irvine and the second – which scored two runs – from Chris Fougner.
White Rock pitcher Scott Doucet was tagged with the loss, despite giving up just two earned runs in four-and-one-third innings.
Victoria pitcher Colton Wood was nearly unhittable, striking out eight Triton batters over seven innings.
The second game was similar in that one big inning was the Tritons’ undoing.
Victoria led 3-1 through three innings, but plated four runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding six-run lead.
They tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh inning, and won the best-of-three series in two contests.
The Mariners managed just one hit in the second game, a single from Dylan Yeager.
The Mariners are one of five teams – the four first-round winners plus the host Whalley Chiefs – taking part in the championship round this weekend at Whalley Stadium.