Last May, in their home park, the Okanagan College Coyotes were one out away from their first ever Canadian College Baseball Conference championship.
But with a two-run ninth inning, the defending champion Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs snatched away both the victory and OC’s aspirations of a first ever CCBC title.
A year later, the Coyotes will be looking for a shot at redemption when as they host the national championship tournament for the second year in a row at Elks Stadium.
The five-day, six-team tournament opens Wednesday at 10 a.m., with the PBA Dawgs taking on the University of Calgary.
The Coyotes’ opener goes Wednesday night at 7:30 against Fraser Valley.
As for last year’s near miss by the Coyotes, head coach Geoff White expects his club to use the experience as ammunition at the 2017 championship.
“Absolutely, I think the guys will be motivated by what happened last year,” said White. “(PBA) walked off on us and now we really want to get back to that final game. We returned the bulk of our guys that played in that game so I know they haven’t forgotten what that felt like.”
The third-seeded Coyotes finished the season with a 15-13 record, including going a solid 8-2 in their last 10 games.
While his club wasn’t firing on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the season, White expects the Coyotes to be right in the mix for another shot at a CCBC crown.
“We played fairly well,” White said of the last three weeks of the season. “Definitely we’ve been pretty good offensively, but we haven’t exactly had great pitching for pretty much the entire year.”
OC was dead last in the CCBC in walks allowed by the pitching staff during the 2017 campaign and White said it’s an area the Coyotes will have to improve on if a championship is to become reality.
“I think it’s going to boil down whether we can throw enough strikes,” White said. “If we can get that under control some this week, then I think we have as good a shot as anyone.
“Overall, I’d say the guys are pretty confident going in.”
The Coyotes are relatavely healthy heading into the tournament, the expection being shortstop Jared Dulaba who went down for the season with a shoulder injury in late April.
OC Coyotes round robin games:
Wednesday, May 10 vs Fraser Valley—7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 11 vs Van. Island University—7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 12 vs Prairie Baseball Academy—7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 13 vs Calgary Dinos—1:00 p.m.
The championship final is set for Sunday, 1:30 p.m at Elks Stadium.
For the entire tournament schedule, go to ccbc.pointstreaksites.com