The Kelowna Falcons open a six-game home stand Friday against Bellingham. -Image: Ken Reid/Greystoke Photography

Falcons stay positive with playoffs looming

Kelowna looking to fine tune game over final stretch of regular season

With a playoff berth already secured midway through the season, the Kelowna Falcons faced the challenge of staying both sharp and motivated over the final 27 games of the West Coast League campaign.

With injuries, a roster in flux and the temptation to take their feet off the gas, that can be easier said than done.

Still, despite a somewhat bumpy second half of the season, Falcons’ manager Bryan Donohue remains upbeat about his club and the effort the players are displaying on a daily basis.

“The guys have been showing up, staying focused and putting in good work, day in and day out,” said Donohue, in his second season as Kelowna’s field manager. “When we clinched that spot, the end goal seemed like a mile away, so we addressed the need to stay sharp.

“We’ve lost some guys and had some injuries that’s really changed the dynamic of our pitching staff in the second half, so we’ve struggled a bit…it’s been a tough stretch,” Donohue added. “We’ve lost a lot of close games but I think it’s good, the adversity we’ve faced has made us tougher. Now it’s time to build up some momentum heading into the playoffs.”

The Falcons locked up a WCL postseason berth thanks to claiming the North Division’s first half title with a 17-10 record. Kelowna will meet the second half winner Aug. 8 to 10 in the best-of-three North final.

Heading into Thursday’s action in Victoria, the Falcons were 4-13 in the season’s second half, with 11 games remaining leading up to the playoffs.

Kelowna kicks off a six-game homestand Friday night—their last regular season games at Elks Stadium—against the Bellingham Bells. The Walla Walla Sweets will visit for three games next week, before Kelowna closes out the 2017 regular season on the road Aug. 4 to 6 against the Sweets in Washington.

Donohue stressed the importance of putting together a good home-stand, both for the Kelowna fans and to establish some positive energy heading into the playoffs.

“It’s important that we defend our home field,” said Donohue. “We’ve dropped some games there in the second half, and we’ve really appreciated the fan support we’ve been getting. We love playing in front of those people.

“We’ve got a job to do, we need to play the right way, find a way to win at home to get moving in the right direction for the playoffs.

First pitch Friday night at Elks Stadium against Bellingham is 6:35 p.m.