The Okanagan Athletics avoided a sweep at the hands of the Nanaimo Pirates to stay in the thick of the race for top spot in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.
After watching the Pirates steal the first three games of the series over the weekend at Elks Stadium, the hometown A’s rebounded in the series finale Sunday afternoon with a 6-1 win.
Jordan Ramirez tossed a three hitter for the win, and Dawson Yates had three hits as the A’s pushed their season record to 24-8.
While he wasn’t thrilled with the overall result of the weekend, head coach Evan Bailey said it was important for his A’s to emerge with one win.
“That was really big win for us, to get swept wouldn’t have been very good at all,” said Bailey. “At the end of the day, I’m not really worried about about first place. We want to finish top four to get a home playoff series, and that’s what we’re focused on. It’s not about wins and losses, it’s about competing. This wasn’t the greatest weekend for our guys in that regard, but I expect we’ll bounce back.”
The weekend got off to a rocky start for the A’s as Nanaimo scored three unearned runs and pounded out a 9-4 win in the opening game Saturday. Dallis Senger drove in two runs in the loss.
In Game 2, a better effort by Okanagan but not still enough as the Pirates eked out a 3-2 win in eight innings. Clint Heidebrecht turned in a solid start in the loss, giving up three hits in seven innings.
On Sunday morning, James Walker (4-1) suffered his first loss of 2012 season as the Pirates hammered out an 8-3 win.
The A’s headed into the weekend having won 10 of their last 11 games.
The A’s (24-8), who entered the weekend in first place, are just 1 1/2 games back of the league-leading Langley Blaze (25-6) and 1/2 game back of the Pirates (24-6).
The A’s may have been a little rusty after not playing the last two weekends, including being rained out the previous week vs. North Shore, but head coach Evan Bailey wasn’t using that as an alibi for his team’s effort.
“It really wasn’t the weekend we were looking for,” said Bailey. “Not to make excuses, but we were off for a couple of weeks and didn’t practice much and it showed. Nanaimo was the better team on this weekend and they definitely deserved to win. They beat us in pretty much every aspect. Overall, I didn’t like our effort.”
The Athletics will be on Vancouver Island this coming weekend for four games with the Victoria Eagles.
Junior A’s sweep Pirates…
While the PBL A’s struggled with Nanaimo, the junior A’s rang up their first sweep of the BCJPBL season taking four games from the Pirates at Edith Gay Park.
Will Russell spun a two-hitter and Christian Dupas had three RBIs in a 6-1 win Saturday.
Game 2 saw the junior A’s bang out 16 hits in a 19-8 win. Dupas, Trevor Lofstrom, Alden Smith, and Sam Wong each drove in three runs.
On Sunday, Lofstrom tossed a five hitter as Okanagan made it three straight with a 6-4 victory.
In the series finale, Dupas and Parker Friesen had two RBIs each in a 7-2 A’s win.
The junior Athletics (6-14) return to BCJPBL action this weekend in Victoria with four games against the Mariners.