The White Rock Tritons’ quest for a home playoff game took a significant hit over the weekend, as the BC Premier Baseball League team lost three of four games to the visiting Okanagan Athletics, before rebounding Tuesday with a win in Langley.
On Saturday at South Surrey Athletic Park, the Tritons dropped post ends of a doubleheader, 6-0 and 4-3, before rebounding Sunday afternoon with a 7-6 win. The home side wasn’t able to draw even in the four-game series later Sunday, however, as the Kelowna-based A’s won the nightcap, 8-2, before heading for home.
On Tuesday evening at the McLeod Park in Langley, White Rock edged the Blaze 9-8.
Last week, Tritons head coach Kyle Dhanani told Peace Arch News that his team’s goal was not just a playoff spot, but to gain home-field advantage for the playoffs, which means they’d need to finish in the top four in the 12-team league; the top eight teams qualify for the postseason. In order to finish that high, the first-year head coach estimated his squad would need to win “10 of the 13” remaining games on the schedule.
“If we do that, I think we’ll have a chance,” he said.
The 1-3 weekend throws a wrench in those plans – the Tritons would likely have to go 7-0 the next two weeks to have a shot at hosting a playoff game in South Surrey – though the under-18 club is still firmly in the BCPBL playoff picture.
With a 20-17 win-loss record, White Rock is currently seventh in the standings, but they hold a healthy lead on the first non-playoff team; the ninth-place Coquitlam Reds are five-and-half games back of them, and have 10 games remaining compared to the Tritons’ seven.
In the first of two games Saturday – the shutout loss – the Tritons struggled offensively, and managed just six hits and no runs against Athletics’ pitcher Keaton Mandryk, who pitched the full seven innings while striking out nine batters.
Four of the six White Rock hits were singles, with Travis Klein and Georgi Sugimoto the only Tritons with extra-base hits, both doubles.
The second game was closer, with White Rock taking a 1-0 first-inning lead when Klein doubled and scored three batters later. Okanagan took the lead two innings later, scoring a pair, and extended the lead with single runs in the next two innings. Trailing 4-1 through six, the home team scored two in the seventh to bridge the gap, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
The Tritons got their first win of the weekend Sunday, led by the bats of third baseman John Vulcano, who had a triple and three runs-batted in; Tate Dearing, who had a double and an RBI; and Cole Walter and junior call-up Corbin Smith, both of whom had doubles.
Senior pitcher Spencer Davis started the game on the hill for White Rock, striking out a pair in three innings of work, and was relieved by Matt Leader, who pitched three-and-two-thirds of a inning, and Brogan McDougall, who was called upon only to get one out – the last one – and was credited with the win, due to White Rock’s last-inning come-from-behind victory.
Tuesday in Langley, White Rock rode a hot start – a five-run first inning – to a win over the Blaze, who are third in the PBL but have now lost five straight games.
Smith was among the offensive catalysts for the South Surrey team, going 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Walter had a double and two RBI, while Dearing also drove in a pair of runs.
Keith Manby earned the win on the mound, striking out three while scattering four hits in three innings. Cameron Dunn pitched the final two innings to earn the save.