After a rough start to 2013, five wins in the last 10 games has helped the Kelowna Falcons turn their West Coast League season in the right direction.
Geoff White’s club hopes to keep the momentum going as the Falcons open a nine-game road trip this Saturday night in Bend, Ore. against the Elks.
Kelowna will also make three-game stops in Cowlitz and Victoria, before returning home on July 8.
“It’s a big stretch of games for us,” said White, the Falcons head coach. “Bend is one of the top teams in the league, so we’ll have to pitch and hit well to play with them.
“We finish up with Victoria and that’ll be a big divisional series for us. It’d be nice if we could go .500 or better on this trip to stay in the race.”
The Falcons (5-13) are coming off their first series win of the season, taking two of three games this week from the Walla Walla Sweets at Elks Stadium.
In the series finale on Wednesday, Marc-Andre Habeck tossed a three hitter for seven innings, while Nolan Johnson, Cody Scaggari and Jarryd Klemm each had two RBIs in a 9-2 Kelowna win.
The Falcons’ bats were alive and well throughout the series with 35 hits while the pitching, for the most part, was solid.
“Our pitching is starting to come around and we’re getting some timely hits,” White said. “The nice thing is everybody’s contributing. Hopefully we can take that on the road with us.”
Leading the offensive charge over the last 10 games has been catcher/DH Nolan Johnson who is hitting .522 with seven RBIs. Johnson recently played in the NCAA Div. 2 World Series with Minnesota State.
“He’s come on strong, had some quality at bats and he’s getting some clutch hits for us,” White said of Johnson. “If he keeps doing that, he’s going to keep himself in the lineup.”
As a team, the Falcons are third in the league in hitting with a .268 average and first in home runs with 10, four of those by Chander Tracy.
After an 0-8 start, Kelowna’s pitching has also shown progress as the team ERA has dropped from close to 6.00 down to 4.74 in the last two weeks.
The Falcons next home action is Monday, July 8 as they host the Cowlitz Black Bears for three-game set.
Meanwhile, gate receipts and donations totalling $5,000 at Wednesday’s game against Walla Walla were turned over to the B.C. Fire Fighters Burn Fund.