Athletics still kicking in Premier Baseball League playoff hunt

Okanagan wins last six games of regular season to stay in the mix as Nanaimo and Vancouver try to hold the A's off

The Okanagan Athletics did what they had to do on the final weekend of their B.C. Premier  Baseball League regular season.

Now Evan Bailey’s club will sit back and see if it’s enough to get into the 2013 playoffs. The defending champion A’s delivered under the gun with a four-game sweep of the hometown North Delta Blue Jays over the weekend to finish the season with a 23-25 record.

Two teams the Athletics can still catch for the eighth and final playoff spot—and perhaps even seventh—are in action Tuesday night: the Nanaimo Pirates (23-23) and the Vancouver Cannons (21-24).

The Cannons must win all three of their remaining games, while Nanaimo needs a split to finish ahead of the A’s.

All in all, the odds look pretty good for the A’s who have rallied back this season from a woeful 5-17 start to post an 18-8 record in their last 26 games.

“That was a long, long way to come back after the start we had this season, so it’s a real credit to the guys for hanging in there,” said head coach Evan Bailey. “For whatever reason, this group seems to be able to win games when they matter.

“We hadn’t swept a series all year, so to come through this way, just shows what kind of kids and competitors they are.”

After taking the first three games of the series from the Jays, the Athletics looked to be down and out in the finale, falling behind 8-2. But Okanagan rallied all the way back for a 9-8 win as Morgan Lofstrom delivered the winning blow with a two-run homerun in the sixth inning.

On Saturday, the A’s grabbed the series opener with a 2-1 win in an extra inning. Lofstrom drove in Dawson Yates with the winning run in the eighth.

Will Russell went 4 1/3 innings for his team-leading fifth win, while Josh Croft closed with 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball.

In Game 2, Morgan Lofstrom drove in three runs and Croft had three hits in an 11-1 Okanagan win. Trevor Lofstrom scattered eight hits for his fourth win of the season.

On Sunday morning, the A’s the made it three in a row with a 5-3 victory.

“If for whatever reason, we don’t make the playoffs I couldn’t be happier with the way we came together when it counted,” Bailey added.

If the Athletics do make the playoffs, they would be on the road next weekend for the opening round.

If Okanagan finishes eighth, it would draw the first-place Langley Blaze in the best-of-three. A seventh-place finish would likely match the A’s up against the Victoria Mariners or  North Shore Twins.


Kelowna Capital News