If White Rock Tritons coach Russ Smithson was in the mood to celebrate moral victories, he had a fine opportunity to do so Tuesday, after his club played well in a tight 1-0 loss to the third-place Langley Blaze.
The Blaze had arguably the BC Premier Baseball League’s top pitcher on the mound, too, in Jon Bauer – who threw a no-hitter against the Tritons in April, and leads the PBL in wins and is second in earned-run average.
Of course, with his team coming off a pair of weekend losses to the Victoria Eagles Sunday, Smithson and his troops aren’t likely to celebrate any close calls. Tuesday’s defeat, coupled with Sunday’s losses, leaves White Rock 12th in the 13-team PBL with a record of 9-26.
Only the struggling Whalley Chiefs, at 6-20, are below the Tritons in the standings. White Rock and Whalley were to play a doubleheader Saturday, but it was postponed due to rain.
Tuesday at Langley’s McLeod Park, Bauer put forth a usual strong performance, striking out five while allowing no runs en route to his seventh win of the season.
But while Bauer was busy shutting down the Tritons’ offence, White Rock starter Alex Webb was doing the same to Blaze batters.
Webb, who is now second in the league in strikeouts, struck out five in four innings, while walking three and allowing just one run, which was scored in the second inning.
After Webb got Langley’s Josh Wray to strike out to start the second frame, Michael Dagg and Nick Rutckyj – a former White Rock-South Surrey Little Leaguer – both walked. Dagg eventually make it to third after a wild pitch, and scored later in the inning when Aaron Horanski hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out.
Joel Lamont pitched the final two innings for White Rock, striking out a pair while giving up just one hit.
Offensively, White Rock managed just five singles off Bauer, led by leadoff hitter Tony Tabor, who went 2-for-4.
The game was the second straight in which White Rock failed to plate a run.
In their second game Sunday against Victoria, they lost 10-0. Despite the score, the game was close through six innings; the Eagles led just 1-0 before scoring nine times in the sixth and final frame, when the game was called.
Sunday’s opening game was much closer, with Victoria escaping with a 4-3 win.
The Eagles scored two in the first to take an early lead, and added single runs in the fourth and fifth, but White Rock slowly chipped away at the lead, scoring in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Jackson Temple and Matt Stephens each had doubles, while pitcher Nathan Trueblood was saddled with the loss, striking out four batters in five innings before giving way to Adam Shumka, who pitched the final two frames.
White Rock’s busy week also included an exhibition contest Monday night in Bellingham, where the Tritons were on the wrong end of a 13-6 score to Bellingham Post 7 at Joe Martin Stadium.
That game featured a return to the mound for Shaylen Buis, who had not pitched in a year due to a shoulder injury.
He had instead been primarily playing first base – which requires less throwing.
In his return to the hill, Buis threw 18 pitches, allowed no hits and walked one batter in one-and-two-thirds innings.
The Tritons have a busy weekend again of them at South Surrey Athletic Park. On Saturday, they host the North Delta Blue Jays for a pair of games, and on Sunday they play a doubleheader against the North Shore Twins. White Rock also played Wednesday, after Peace Arch News’ deadlines, against the Abbotsford Cardinals.