It might not reflect it in the BC Premier Baseball League standings quite yet, but the White Rock Tritons are among the junior baseball circuit’s hottest teams.
For the second time in a month, the South Surrey-based team reeled off a five-game win streak – a run that was only halted Sunday by an 8-7 loss to the Langley Blaze at the latter team’s 2014 Blaze Invitational tournament.
Prior to that loss, the Tritons defeated the PBL rival Abbotsford Cardinals in the semifinals, and two squads from Alberta and one from Seattle prior to that. Last Tuesday, in a game that doubled as both a league tilt and tournament-opener, White Rock crushed the Blaze 11-5. The loss was only Langley’s fifth of the season.
“It was our second five-game streak in a month, so even though we lost (the final), we were all pretty fired up,” said Tritons head coach Russ Smithson.
“It’s just a lot of fun to come to the field right now. I can’t keep the kids away.”
As evidence, Smithson pointed to the win over Langley. The previous weekend, the Tritons had been in Goodyear, Ariz. at the Perfect Game tournament, and did not arrive back in Vancouver until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. Less than 16 hours later, they were at the field, ready to play the Blaze.
“Everybody’s just in their prime right now. It’s a lot of fun,” Smithson said.
Though they only won once in four games in Arizona, Smithson said the team’s play was a pre-cursor to the win streak.
“We played some really good teams, and got some great games in. We played really well,” he explained.
“We were competitive the whole time, but when you play those American teams, they take advantage of every mistake and there are no holes in their lineup.”
Over the course of the last few weeks, the Tritons’ have largely been buoyed by pitching, Smithson said.
“At the start of the year, we talked about our pitching depth being our biggest strength, but then we had a couple injuries and the depth was gone,” he said.
“But now that we’ve got everybody back healthy, we’ve just been getting some outstanding games from our pitchers. We’ve given up maybe a dozen runs in the last six games.”
Smithson singled out left-handed pitcher Eric Broatch as one of the team’s best over the course of the hot streak.
He picked up the win against the Blaze last week, and pitched three other times in the Langley tourney, including one inning of relief in the final game.
“He’s been outstanding,” Smithson said. “His fastball looks like it’s five miles-per-hour faster and nobody can hit him right now.”
Even with the recent win streak, the Tritons still sit in the middle of the PBL pack, as tournament wins don’t count in league standings. White Rock currently sits seventh in the 13-team league, with a record of 11-13.
White Rock is back on the field tonight (Thursday) for a rematch with the Blaze, and this weekend the team heads south to Seattle for another tournament against some of the Pacific Northwest’s top junior clubs.