The White Rock Tritons remain in the hunt for the BC Premier Baseball League’s final playoff spot after splitting a doubleheader with the North Delta Blue Jays on the weekend.
Playing Sunday at Delta’s Mackie Park, White Rock dropped a 7-4 decision to the Jays in Game 1, before rebounding in the nightcap to win 5-3.
After a somewhat inconsistent start to the season – head coach Mike Hughes called his team “Jekyll and Hyde” earlier this month in an interview with Peace Arch News – the Tritons have now won three of their last five contests, including a June 14 game against North Delta that was played under the lights at Nat Bailey Stadium – home of the single ‘A’ Vancouver Canadians.
The South Surrey-based under-18 squad sits ninth in the BCPBL standings with a win-loss record of 12-20, just one game back of the Blue Jays for the eighth and final playoff spot, with 11 regular-season games to go.
In the opening game Sunday, the Blue Jays jumped out to a big lead early, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning, and they led 6-0 after three frames before White Rock mounted its comeback attempt. In the top of the fourth, the Tritons scored three runs to cut the led in half – a bases-loaded single from Terrell Rogers scored both Matthew Rachman and Jackson Hogg, and one batter later – after Rogers was caught stealing – Marshal Luiz scored from third on a Corbin Smith groundout.
The Jays got one run back in the bottom of the fifth, and though the Tritons returned the favour in the top of the seventh – Ryan Dauphinee singled, moved to third on a double from Ewan Hall, and later scored – it was not enough to overtake the home team.
Cameron Dunn and Noah Bryerton split pitching duties – Dunn started the game, but each hurler pitched three full innings, striking out three apiece.
In the second game, all of White Rock’s offence came late. The team didn’t plate a run for the first five innings, and trailed the Jays 2-0 after the third, but the Peninsula crew took its first lead of the weekend in the top of the sixth when Steven Lin doubled home Smith, Dauphinee followed by singling home Lin, and Jackson Hogg did the same, cashing in Dauphinee on a single of his own.
The 3-2 lead didn’t last long, however, as the Jays tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. Neither team scored in the seventh, either, which sent the game into extra innings.
In the eighth, a combination of walks – to Dauphinee and Hogg – and singles by Jon Klassen and Luiz scored a pair of runs to give White Rock the lead back. In the bottom half of the inning, Logan MacNeil – a junior call-up – shut down Delta for the win.
MacNeil pitched the entire eight inning game for the victors, striking out six batters along the way while allowing just three hits and walking two.
White Rock is back on the field Tuesday night, when they host the Abbotsford Cardinals at South Surrey Athletic Park, and then don’t have a league game until a July 7 doubleheader in Parksville.