Prior to the first pitch of the BC Premier Baseball League season, new White Rock Tritons head coach Kyle Dhanani set a goal for his team – win, or at least split, every weekend series of the 44-game schedule.
So far, so good.
The Tritons – who missed the playoffs last season under the stewardship of former coach Russ Smithson – won their season-opener last Saturday afternoon at South Surrey Athletic Park, 9-6 over the visiting North Shore Twins. The Twins exacted revenge in the second game of the doubleheader, however, beating the Peninsula squad 7-1.
“We were excited to be out there, and to come out with the split, we were alright with that,” Dhanani said. “We played pretty well, and we got a couple lucky breaks and took advantage of them.
“Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going (this) weekend.”
On Saturday, the Tritons host the Okanagan Athletics for a pair of games at South Surrey Athletic Park, and the two teams will hit the field for two more Sunday.
Considering it was the opening weekend of the season, both the Tritons and Twins could be forgiven for being a little rusty. Due to inclement weather, White Rock only played one preseason game – way back in February – before finally getting some games in during a weeklong trip to Tucson in late March, but Dhanani said his team, despite getting just four hits, seemed to be in solid form and were able to make the most of a few North Shore miscues.
“We took what was given to us in the first game. Their pitchers weren’t pitching probably as well as they could have, so we took advantage,” he said. “We took some (extra) bases… we got a couple timely balls in play – a sacrifice fly, plus a fielder’s choice scored us a couple runs. It was good.”
Tanner Carmont earn the opening-day start on the pitcher’s mound for the home team, striking out four batters while allowing four runs in four innings of work. Keith Manby, Perrin Finley – who was credited with the win – and Brogan McDougall each pitched one inning of relief, with McDougall getting the official save.
“I thought it was a good game from all four of our guys,” Dhanani said.
White Rock only managed seven total hits in the two-game series, but one area in which they did excel was on the basepaths – the team stole five bases against the Twins, with centre-fielder Tate Dearing leading the way with two.
“We’re going to be aggressive running the bases this year, and try to creat things with our feet,” Dhanani explained.
“Hopefully that will put a little bit more pressure on the defence and help out our hitting by creating a few more holes out there in the field for us.”
White Rock’s only run of the second game came in the fourth inning, with the team trailing 3-0. After getting walked, Manby came around to score after another walk and a single from Georgi Sugimoto.
In order to come away with a split this weekend against the A’s – “Or hopefully, 3-1 or 4-0 (record),” Dhanani said – the Tritons will have to hope their bats heat up a little bit, though the coach was otherwise pleased with how his team was rounding into form early in the season.
“They’re a good team so we’re just going to have to go out there and do the same things we did last weekend – maybe hit a little better – and I think we should be fine.”
Saturday’s games are scheduled for 2 and 4:30 p.m. at South Surrey Athletic Park, and 11 a.m. 1:30 p.m. Sunday.