Okanagan A's first baseman Jordan Ramirez takes a throw at first base as Coquitlam's Brandon Becking dives back into the bag Sunday at Elks Stadium in B.C. Premier Baseball League action.

BCPBL champs get split in season openers

Okanagan Athletics and Coquitlam Reds split four games at Elks Stadium

As the defending champs and the team everyone wants to take down, the Okanagan Athletics are well aware wins won’t always come easy during the 2013 B.C. Premier Baseball League season.

Factor in the absences of two key players and the A’s roster was stretched to the limit in their season-opening series against the Coquitlam Reds.

When all was said and done over the weekend at Elks Stadium, the clubs had split a pair of PBL doubleheaders right down the middle.

“The guys aren’t overly happy, we were short-benched but we still had a chance to win the series,” said A’s head coach Evan Bailey. “On the other hand, there were some positives. Defensively, I thought we played outstanding all weekend, our infield was really good.

“A 2-2 start, not what we wanted, but I guess it could have been worse. It’s a long season.”

The A’s are without catcher/pitcher Morgan Lofstrom for the first eight games of the season while he attends Canada’s national junior team camp in Florida.

And one of the team’s top starters, James Walker, is expected to miss about a month with an injury.

In Walker’s absence, Bailey had to start a pair of junior-aged pitchers against the Reds.

“We have pretty good depth, but not in terms of numbers,” said Bailey. “You lose a couple of key guys and it’s challenge.”

On Saturday, in Game 1,  A’s bats were silenced by Reds’ starter Curtis Taylor who tossed a no-hitter in a 3-0 Reds win.

However, Okanagan fought back in Game 2 with a 4-2 win as Jordan Ramirez delivered two RBIs and Dawson Yates had two hits and a stolen base. Jared Young earned the win with 4 1/3 innings of work.

On Sunday, James Ward drove home a pair of runs for the Athletics in third game of the series in a 6-2 win.

Junior hurler Dylan Emmons picked up the win while Will Russell tossed 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

In the series finale, with fatigue setting in, runs were easy to come by as Coquitlam held off the A’s 13-12.

Ward, Yates, Davis Todosichuk and Cole Laviolette each had two RBIs for Okanagan.

The Athletics (2-2), who will play their first 12 games of the regular season at home, will the Victoria Mariners for doubleheaders this Saturday and Sunday.

Junior A’s win 3

The Okanagan junior A’s opened the 2013 season on the right foot with three wins in four tries against the White Rock Tritons.

On Saturday, in the series opener, Okanagan edged the Tritons 6-5.

Marcus Glowacki singled home Parker Friesen with the game-winning run in the seventh inning.

In Game 2, Christian Dupas homered, doubled and drove in three runs in an 8-1 win.

David Tongue tossed a seven-hit shutout for the A’s.

On Sunday, White Rock assured there would be no sweep with a 6-4 win in the first game of the day.

In the series finale, Glowacki went 4-for-5 and scored twice, and Ty Cridland had three hits and two RBIs as the A’s won 10-6. Clay Stephens pitched four innings of scoreless relief for the win.

The Athletics return to action this weekend as they host the Victoria junior Mariners for doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at Edith Gay Park.