Having to scramble for a playoff spot on the final weekend of the regular season wasn’t originally part of the master plan for 2013 edition of the Okanagan Athletics.
As it is, the odds are stacked against the defending B.C. Premier Baseball League champs as they close out the campaign with a four-game series Saturday and Sunday in North Delta against the Blue Jays.
The A’s will likely need a sweep of the Jays, then will need some assistance from other clubs if they are to latch on to the eighth and final post-season berth.
The ninth-place Athletics (19-25) are chasing both the Vancouver Cannons (20-21) and Nanaimo Pirates (23-25).
“I’d say we have about a 20 per cent chance of pulling it off,” said A’s coach Evan Bailey. “We’re probably going to need to win all four from North Delta, then get some help. It’s going to be tough, but crazier things have happened.”
If the A’s end up tied with either Nanaimo or the Cannons, Okanagan would win the tiebreaker in both instances based on head-to-head play during the regular season.
While the scenario facing the A’s is far from ideal, Bailey said at least his club is aliveabd kicking heading into the last series of the season.
“Obviously it’s not the situation we wanted to be in, but I told the guys at least our last series of the year means something,” Bailey said. “I wish we were in already, but that’s not the case. It’s nice to know these games are important, we just need to get a little lucky.”
The 2013 season hasn’t unfolded at all the way Bailey and the defending champion A’s had hoped, as the club stumbled out to a 5-16 start and simply hasn’t been able to make up the slack.
While the club’s hitting and defense have been solid all season, a lack of pitching depth has been the team’s undoing. An injury to James Walker and the absence of national team member Morgan Lofstrom have both figured into the club’s mound woes.
“It’s 100 per cent pitching,” Bailey said. “That’s not a knock on any one guy, it’s just that we have the second worst pitching in the league and it’s certainly not what we expected. We lack the numbers of pitchers we need and we just haven’t been able to make that up.”
If the A’s do find a way into the post-season, they would be on the road for the playoffs the weekend of July 27 and 28.
The Okanagan junior A’s continue their push towards securing a playoff spot as they play a four-game series this weekend in Abbotsford against the Cardinals.
The A’s (18-18) are currently seventh in the BCJPBL, four games clear of ninth place Nanaimo (12-20) and 1 1/2 ahead of the Victoria Mariners. Eight teams will make the post-season.
The A’s will close out the regular season July 27 and 28 with a four-game set against the Cannons.