Okanagan A's sweep White Rock, stand up for each other in PBL action in Kelowna
At 16-and-4 in the B.C. Premier Baseball League, the Okanagan Athletics are proving they are one of the top midget baseball teams in B.C.
On Saturday they showed they also have each other's backs.
The Athletics swept the White Rock Tritons in a four game series in Kelowna, improving its BCPBL record to 16-and-4, second place in the 13-team league.
The series featured two extra innings games and two blowouts—all wins for Okanagan—as well as a bench clearing melee that started after a White Rock player slid into Athletics catcher Morgan Lofstrom during Saturday's double-header.
"You don't want to see that but our players are sticking up for each other," said Athletics coach Evan Bailey. "We're not dirty. We play the right way. It was just one of those things. We want to beat teams on the scoreboard and that's what we have been doing."
The fact that Okanagan players came out of the dugout to support their catcher could be a sign that they are no longer one of the BCPBL's lower echelon teams, something that hasn't happened during the club's existence in the Premier Baseball League. This year however is different as the Athletics have won 10 of 11 games and sit solidly in second, only behind perennial powerhouse Langley.
And Bailey says the team has yet to really put it all together.
"I try not to be too negative but I'm never really satisfied either," said Bailey. "We seem to get off to a slow start every weekend. If anything it's a positive because when we do put everything together, watch out. The important thing is that although I don't think we played that well, we are making strides and getting better every weekend. If you look at the start of the year until now, we have gotten better in every area."
On Saturday in Kelowna, the Athletics opened the series with a 3-2 extra innings win over White Rock before winning the second game 13-3. Then on Sunday it was a 2-1 extra innings win by the A's before a 13-0 shutout victory.
Bailey says the club needs to work on getting off to a quicker start.
"It's really important to get off to a good start. It puts you in a strong position," he said. "Our goal is to be a top three team to get a home playoff series. There are high expectations here but with that being said they are reasonable because we have a pretty special group here."
The Athletics will hit the road this weekend, heading to Coquitlam for a four game set against the Reds who sit at 11-9. Bailey says they hope to continue playing well.
"We're going to stick with our goal of winning series," he said. "That's been our goal all year. We're going to see a stronger team than we have the past two weekend. I like playing on the road and the guys like playing on the road. There are less distractions."
The Athletics return home June 2 and 3.