After a 1-5 start to the second half of 2016 baseball season, the Kelowna Falcons’ prospects of securing a West Coast League playoff spot this season were looking grim, at best.
But thanks to back-to-back three-game sweeps of the Kitsap Bluejackets, the Falcons (7-5) right back in the fight and now sit atop the North Division.
The second half champion will meet the first half champs—the Victoria Harbourcats—in the WCL’s semifinal round.
On Wednesday night, the Falcons will look to make it seven straight wins as they open a three-game series at Elks Stadium against the Yakima Valley Pippins. First pitch is 6:35 p.m.
With 15 games remaining, including nine at home, head coach Bryan Donohue understandably feels better about his team’s position than he did a mere week ago.
“It was nice to get things turned around and we’re carrying some momentum,” said Donohue, whose Falcons are 20-19 overall this season. “It’s fun to be in the thick of things. We have five series left, so now we’ll see if we can find a way to win them all.
“We’ve been on the road a lot lately, so to have most of our remaining games at home is going to be nice for the guys.”
As is the case every season, the Falcons’ roster was in a state of flux for much of the season’s first month-plus, with several players leaving and others arriving in town at different times.
Donohue said now that the dust has pretty much settled, his club seems to have found its stride.
“It’s always a challenge when you have new guys coming in every week, it takes time for them to get to know each other and feel comfortable,” he said. “I think once all the guys got their feet wet, they started come together. I see a better rhythm in their swing and the guys just look more comfortable.”
The Falcons used almost every conceivable way to sweep six games from the Bluejackets, including the ability to win tight ball games. All three games on the weekend at Elks Stadium were decided by a single run—4-3, 2-1 and 9-8.
“That’s tough to sweep the same team in two straight series, it doesn’t happen too often,” Dononhue said. “A lot of those came down to the wire and the guys just found a way to win.”
Meanwhile, three members of the Falcons are in Washington this week for the WCL all-star festivities
Catcher Brendt Citta and pitcher Jared Morton will play with the North Division team, while Falcons field manager Bryan Donohue will serve as the North head coach.
The all-star game will be played Tuesday night at Davis Story Field in Longview, WA, home of the Cowlitz Black Bears.