Just like the weather, the White Rock Tritons are heating up.
The BC Premier Baseball League team – which started the season slowly but is 7-3 in the last 10 games – added three more wins to the ledger last weekend at South Surrey Athletic Park, sweeping the Coquitlam Reds in a doubleheader Sunday while also earning a two-game split with the Parksville Royals.
On Sunday against the Reds, the Tritons opened with a 3-2 win in which pitcher Keaton Edwards had perhaps his best outing of the season. The Elgin Park Secondary student pitched six-and-a-third innings, striking out seven while allowing just two hits and three walks.
Eric Broatch got the final two outs in relief, striking out one to earn the save.
Offensively, catcher Dylan Yeager was the star, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs-batted-in. The Grade 12 Earl Marriott Secondary student added another round-tripper in the second game of the day – and had another Saturday – and now, along with teammate Tom Melenchuk, leads the league in home runs with three.
“In all my years in this league, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that, one guy hitting home runs in three straight games in one weekend,” said Tritons coach Russ Smithson. “Dylan was just crushing the ball. Tom was, too. It was great, and it gets everybody pretty pumped up.”
The home-run barrage has also spurred a bit of a friendly competition between the two sluggers, Smithson added.
“Oh yeah, there definitely is now,” he laughed.
Centre-fielder and leadoff hitter Aaron Wiegert also had a good game at the dish, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
In the second game Sunday, the Tritons waited until their last at-bats to win the game. With the two teams tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth and final inning Melenchuk blasted a three-run home run to put the home team up by three heading into the final inning.
White Rock’s other two runs also came via the long ball, when Yeager hit a two-run homer in the second inning.
Scott Doucet went the distance on the mound for the victors, striking out eight while giving up just two runs in seven innings of work.
The veteran pitcher now has 24 strikeouts in 24 innings this season, while sporting a 2-1 win-loss record.
As opposed to Sunday’s games, which were relatively close on the scoreboard, neither game Saturday against Parksville was as closely contested.
In the opening, the visiting Royals whacked the Tritons 8-0, scoring all eight runs in the back half of the game.
The Royals scored two in the fourth, and three each in the fifth and six innings to run away with the win.
White Rock managed just three hits – all singles – off Royals’ pitcher Owen Kelly, who struck out six and walked just one.
Tritons’ pitcher Barry Caine was tagged with the loss. He pitched four-and-two-thirds innings before being relieved by Anthony Aiello, who got the final seven outs.
The tables were turned in the second game of the day, as White Rock’s offence came alive, with 13 hits in a 9-0 win.
Melenchuk went 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI, and James Pavelick also went 4-for-4, with three runs scored.
The red-hot Yeager had just one hit, but it was a big one – his first of three homers on the weekend.
Patrick van den Brink was the pitcher of record for White Rock, earning the win after six-and-one-thirds inning of work, striking out three along the way.
The team earned a fourth straight victory Tuesday night at Abbotsford’s Delair Park, beating the hometown Cardinals 3-1.
As was the case on the weekend, the team got another stellar performance from a starting pitcher – this time, Zach Campagne, who went six innings, striking out two while scattering five hits, all of which were singles.
“That’s been the key for us lately – getting great games from our pitchers. We’ve got guys throwing complete games, most guys going at least into the six inning. It’s been great,” Smithson said.
Aiello pitched the final inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Yeager had another strong day at the plate, as did second baseman Jason Hill. Both had a double and an RBI, while Yeager also stole a base.