The Okanagan College Coyotes have yet to celebrate a Canadian College Baseball Conference championship.
There may be no better time or place for a breakthrough for Geoff White’s team than this weekend in Kelowna.
The Coyotes will play host to the CCBC’s season-ending championship tournament, beginning Thursday at Elks Stadium.
OC will be joined in the five-team, round-robin tournament by the defending champion Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs, the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack, the Calgary Dinos and Vancouver Island Baseball Institute.
It’s the first time the Coyotes will host the CCBC finals, after winning the bid process for both the 2016 and 2017 tournaments.
“We’re excited, it’s been two years since the application process and now we’re ready to go,” said White, the Coyotes head coach. “Expectations are high on the field, hopefully we’ll get some good weather and a good turnout in support of our team.
“We’re looking forward to some good baseball.”
The PBA Dawgs are not only the defending champs but won the regular season title with a 22-6 record. And while the Lethbridge-based program is favoured, White said anything can happen in the four-day tournament.
“The league has been very even, where any team can beat any other team on a given day,” said White, whose Coyotes finished second at 14-14. “I think it’ll all come down to execution, pitching and defence, that’s what wins championships.”
Based largely on the quality of his pitching staff, White likes the Coyotes’ chances.
“I think we have a good shot at it,” he said. “We have deep pitching and that could be a key for us.”
As for the quality of baseball fans can expect, White is confident the entertainment value will be satisfactory, at the very least.
“It’s good baseball, it’s competitive and we have a lot of talented young players,” he said. “More guys are staying at home and playing in Canada now. The league continues to get stronger, the parity is there, and it’s a good brand of baseball. These kids work really hard at it.”
The week will begin Wednesday night at 7:30 with a home run derby at Elks Stadium, with proceeds going to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.
The final is set for Sunday afternoon.
Day passes for the CCBC finals are $20, while a tournament pass is $55.
For more information, visit okanagancollegebaseball.ca.
Canadian College Baseball Conference Championship
Okanagan College Coyotes (OC)
Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack (TRU)
University of Calgary Dinos (UC)
Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners (VIBI)
Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs (PBA)
All games at Elks Stadium in Kelowna
• Thursday, May 12
Noon—PBA vs. UC
3:30 p.m.—TRU vs. PBA
7 p.m. VIBI vs OC
• Friday, May 13
10 a.m.—VIBI vs. TRU
1 p.m.—UC vs OC
4 p.m VIBI vs. PBA
7 p.m. OC vs TRU
• Saturday, May 14
10 a.m.—UC vs. VIBI
1 p.m.—UC vs. TRU
4 p.m.—OC vs. PBA
• Sunday, May 15