Though the White Rock Tritons have struggled to score runs during their current three-game losing streak, the drought has as much to do with the competition as it does their own skills with the bat, according to the team’s head coach.
Last Thursday, the Tritons were edged 4-2 by the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s second-place team, the Langley Blaze – who had ace Tom Robson on the hill – and Saturday, in the first game of a doubleheader in Parksville, White Rock found themselves up against Royals’ No. 1 pitcher Clayton Isherwood.
“Isherwood is a member of the Canadian junior national team, and Robson is potentially a first-round draft pick (in this year’s Major League Baseball draft), so it hasn’t been easy for us,” said Tritons coach Russ Smithson.
“It was two really tough games for us, but we did get seven hits off (Robson), so I’ve still been happy with how the guys have played.”
On Saturday, Isherwood struck out 11 in seven innings to lead his club to a 5-1 win over White Rock, and Parksville won the nightcap, too, 4-0.
The Tritons’ Sunday doubleheader, which was to be at home against the Victoria Mariners, was rained out.
White Rock, with a record of 8-10, will look to rebound this weekend with four road games on the schedule. Saturday, they head across the Fraser River to play two against the Coquitlam Reds, and Sunday they head to Victoria for a doubleheader against the Eagles.
Smithson said for his team to get back into the win column, they’ll need to do a better job of cashing in on their scoring opportunities – something that’s been a problem of late.
“We really struggled the last week or so when we’ve had men on base,” he explained.
“We can get runners on, and move them over to second and third, but we just can’t seem to get them home. If we can start doing that, and maybe get an early lead, that’d really help. We play a lot better when we get that early lead – it’s tough coming from behind all the time.”
Two players who haven’t been struggling at the plate lately are Josh Sigurdson and Evan Douglas. Sigurdson is currently sixth in the PBL batting race, with a .396 average, while Douglas is hitting .379 but does not yet have enough at-bats to qualify among the league leaders.
“The last few weeks, Josh has just been skyrocketing up the batting-average leaders,” Smithson said. “They’ve both been fantastic.
Smithson said four good practice days this week – which have been few and far between lately, due to scheduling and weather – have his squad feeling confident heading into the weekend.
“I think we’re going to be good, I really do,” he said.
“The games will be tough, though. I expect Saturday’s game to be good, low-scoring games. Coquitlam has four really good left-handed pitchers – and I’m sure we’ll probably see every one of them.”