Falcons look to shed slow start
It wasn't the kind of start head coach Al Cantwell had envisioned for his Kelowna Falcons.
Thankfully, the West Coast League season is less than two weeks old.
After seven straight losses to open the campaign, the Falcons finally broke through on Sunday Elks Stadium with a 3-0 shutout of the Langley Blaze in a non-conference game.
Kelowna was still hoping to get its first WCL win Tuesday as they took on the Bluejackets in Kitsap. A final score wasn't available at press time.
While a 0-6 start was discouraging for players and coaches alike, Cantwell has been urging the young Falcons to stick to the plan and have faith in their abilities.
"We just have to keep grinding it out," said Cantwell, the Falcons' Canadian-born head coach. "Everyone of the guys that are here can play. In three or four games, we were getting lots of hits, but just not when we needed them. That's when you start pressing a little too much. But if we stick with it, sooner or later those are going to fall in and we're going to start scoring some runs."
Hitting has been the club's Achilles Heel early in the season as the Falcons were batting just .158 heading into this week's action.
The pitching staff—the Falcons' perceived strength—has generally been good, the best effort so far coming from Brandon Marris who tossed a two-hitter on Sunday.
In the big picture, Cantwell says the Falcons still have plenty of time to get their game in order.
"Sometimes the baseball gods aren't with you and we've had some tough breaks early in the season here…that's not making excuses," he said. "The good thing is as a coach is all these new guys are giving you their ears and they're listening. They're starting to get on the same page and that can be a challenge when you've got guys coming from all over the country with different ideas. I keep preaching, attack, attack, attack, let's be aggressive and if we do that, I believe we're going to win lots of ball games."
The Falcons will add two key pitchers to their staff this week, both of whom played for Louisiana State University-Shreveport at the recent NAIA World Series.
Abbotsford native Jared Mortenson will get the start Thursday night in Kitsap, while Cade Bowen will take on the closer's role for the Falcons.
Kelowna's next home action is Friday when they open a three-game series against Cowlitz at Elks Stadium.