The Trail AA Orioles opened their season decisively with a pair of 10-0 victories over Lewis and Clark on Saturday at Butler Park in Washington State American Legion Baseball League (WSALB) action.
The O’s dominated their National League AA division rival as they scored runs in almost every inning on their way to their first two victories in as many games.
“They were 4-4 in the league so we didn’t know what to think coming in, but we jumped on them early and they just sort of deflated,” said hitting coach Kyle Mace.
The AA Orioles received timely and consistent hitting and great pitching through both games as Austin Tambellini earned the win in the opening six-inning match up, giving up just two hits for the shut out victory, while Braden Makay got the nod in the second match throwing a combined no-hitter with Colton Miracle through five innings before the mercy-rule came into effect.
“We played well today, we stayed in it for all the innings, and we got some good hits, our offence was good, and our pitching was obviously really good because they didn’t even score today,” said 18-year-old pitcher Tambellini.
The Nelson native, who recently committed to Hills College in Hillsboro, Texas, was in the zone on Saturday changing speeds between an 85-miles-per-hour fastball and a change-up, with the occasional slider or curve ball thrown in.
“Just the ability to hit the inside corner was good and mixing in my change up which was working pretty good today too,” said Tambellini. “But it depends on the batter, you can’t really pitch to patterns, you have to change it up, but mostly just get the balls in play and let the defence work it out.”
It’s a promising start for a AA Orioles team that stalled coming out of the gate last season, losing three of their opening four games before going on a 6-4 run to finish at 7-7.
Head coach Ron Mace says it is one of the best prepared AA Oriole’s team he has coached, playing “a ton” of games before opening the WSALB season, as many of the players played for Mace on the L.V. Rogers High School team out of Nelson in April and May before the AA Oriole team formed and joined the Trail XBL Men’s league for the first time to maintain their edge going into the WSALB season.
“It’s been hugely helpful,” said Kyle. “I think playing against the older competition when we come to this it just makes it simple for these kids. They are playing against kids their own age, they can do it against grown men, they can do it against these kids.”
With a pair of blowouts in its first two matches, the team is off to an exceptional if not surprising start, yet Kyle Mace recognizes the coaches will need to keep the team of 13-18 year olds grounded to avoid becoming overconfident.
“I said to them, two wins doesn’t mean nothing. Fourteen wins means we’re undefeated in the league and that’s when it means something. I just told them we have to stay hungry and not get satisfied.”