A week ago, White Rock Tritons coach Russ Smithson said his team’s slow start – winning just one of the first six games of the BC Premier Baseball League season – was not yet cause for panic.
Now, however – after losing three straight games last week, including both ends of a Sunday doubleheader against the North Shore Twins – there may be reason to be a little concerned.
Just three weeks into the season, the Tritons, who were considered a legitimate playoff contender in the pre-season, currently sit in last place in the 12-team PBL with a 1-8 win-loss record, and are seven-and-a-half games back of the league-leading Langley Blaze.
On Sunday, White Rock dropped two games to the North Shore, losing the first game 7-1 before losing 12-5 in the nightcap. Earlier last week, on April 21, the Tritons were bounced 10-1 by the Coquitlam Reds.
Back when his team was still 1-5, Smithson bemoaned a lack of timely hitting from his under-18 crew, suggesting that if the bats didn’t warm up “We aren’t going to win too many games.”
On the weekend, the trend continued. A timely hit could have especially come in handy in the first game against the Twins Sunday. The two clubs were tied 1-1 after three innings, and neither team could break the deadlock until the final frame, when the Twins exploded for six runs in the top half of the inning.
White Rock managed just four hits in the game, with two of them coming in the third inning – when the team managed their only run of the game. After Danny Hollins got on board with a walk and Jason Hill singled, Tritons’ outfielder Aaron Wiegert came to the plate and hit a double, scoring Hill.
Second baseman Jansen Crossley had the Tritons’ other two hits.
Pitcher Patrick van den Brink was tagged with the loss for the home team, striking out six while giving up nine hits and a walk.
Unlike the opening, the visitors didn’t wait long in Game 2 to take the lead. The Twins racked up 12 runs on 12 hits, scoring runs in each inning but the first.
The Tritons, meanwhile, scored once in the first inning when a van den Brink single cashed in Dawson Veeneman. In the third, Hollins hit a double that scored two runs, and then he scored one batter later after a van den Brink single.
Defence proved to be an issue for the Tritons Sunday, as the team made a combined nine errors in the two games against the North Shore.
The Tritons opened the week’s schedule at Coquitlam’s Mundy Park, where they again struggled in the field, making four errors in a 10-1 loss.
Coquitlam scored three runs in each of the first two innings, added two more in the third, and led 8-1 before White Rock could get a runner across the plate in the fifth – when Wiegert scored from third on a wild pitch.
Despite the early-season struggles, White Rock has a good opportunity to get back into the win column this weekend when they travel to Vancouver Island to battle the Parksville Royals.
Like the Tritons, the Royals have also struggled to start the year, and sport a 1-7 record heading into this weekend’s action. The Tritons also played another struggling club – the 3-8 Whalley Chiefs – on Thursday evening after Peace Arch News’ press deadlines.