The White Rock Tritons have slipped down a few rungs on the BC Premier Baseball League ladder after winning just one of four games at home last weekend.
However, the under-18 baseball club still finds itself in the top half of the standings – fifth out of 12 teams – as they prepare for a Vancouver Island road trip this weekend.
On Saturday, White Rock hosted their closest rivals, the Whalley Chiefs, for a pair of games, with the Chiefs winning Game 1 handily, 12-1, before the Tritons rebounded to win the nightcap, 9-3. A day later, another Lower Mainland opponent, the Abbotsford Cardinals, made the trip to South Surrey and won both ends of a two-game slate Sunday. In the opener, Abby shutout White Rock 6-0, and won the second game 5-2.
The 1-3 weekend record dropped the Tritons from third place to fifth with a 7-6 win-loss record, though White Rock head coach Kyle Dhanani told Peace Arch News last week that he wasn’t taking standings into account until about halfway through the schedule, considering the disparity in games-played between some teams – a problem due to early-season rainouts. Even now, a month into the season, White Rock has played more than double the number of games as Whalley, for example.
On Saturday, the Chiefs’ bats overpowered the Tritons. The team hit two home runs – from Josh Marchese and Will Chaba – while former Triton Quinton Hall and Ataru Yamaguchi, hitting in the first two spots in the Chiefs’ batting order, combined for three hits, four runs scored, three walks and four runs-batted-in.
White Rock’s lone run came in the fourth inning when centre-fielder Tate Dearing – recently returning to the Tritons’ fold after a stint with the Canadian junior national team – smashed his first home run of the season.
While the first game was over quickly for the home side – the game ended after five innings by virtue of the 12-1 score – the second game was markedly different.
The Tritons scored four runs in the first inning, sending 10 batters to the plate and chasing the Chiefs’ starting pitcher from the game. Whalley answered back with three runs of their own in the top of the second but would get no closer to tying the score after White Rock tacked on another run in the fourth and four more in the fifth.
“It was nice to see them bounce back – that’s the beauty of baseball,” said Tritons general manager Marty Lehn.
Dearing again led the offence, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, while junior callup John Volcano, playing shortstop, went 1-for-3 with a triple that scored three runs.
Pitcher Evan Lane earned the win for the home, striking out six batters in three-and-two-thirds innings.
On Sunday, White Rock ran into a hot-hitting Abbotsford squad that led the BCPBL in home runs heading into the game, and had further extended their lead by the time the day’s doubleheader was over.
Cardinals’ third baseman Dylan Ohlsen hit his fourth homer of the season to pace the team’s attack in Game 1, and in the second contest, Matt Pidlisecky was the one to take one deep, in the 5-2 win.
Brogan McDougall pitched three innings to start the second contest, before giving way to reliever Allan Hogg, who struck out nine Abby hitters in four innings.
On Saturday, the Tritons travel to Parksville for two games, and on Sunday will be in Nanaimo for a pair of games against the Mid-Island Pirates.
Meanwhile, the Tritons’ younger brothers, the under-16 Junior Tritons, remain in first place in the BC Junior Premier Baseball League, despite not having played a league game in more than two weeks.
The junior squad sports a B.C.-best 8-1 win-loss record and after not playing a league contest since April 26 – due to a break in the schedule and a rain-related postponement – the team will play four home games this weekend, two against the Whalley Junior Chiefs on Saturday, and two against the Coquitlam Redlegs Sunday afternoon.
The Junior Tritons rattled off eight straight wins to start the year, before losing their most recent game 2-1 to the UBC Junior Thunder.
“We’ve had a strong start to the season,” Junior Tritons coach Jordan Broach told Peace Arch News last month, after the team swept a four-game road trip on Vancouver Island.
The under-16 squad has been so good this spring that a handful of the team’s top players have earned frequent call-ups to the U18 club throughout the first month of the season.
“Some of the guys have been so good it’s been tough not to call them up (even more),” Lehn said.