Orioles skip provincials

The Trail AM Ford Orioles will take a pass on the Senior Men’s B.C. Baseball championship this year

The Trail AM Ford Orioles will take a pass on the Senior Men’s B.C. Baseball championship this year, as they wrapped up their season on the weekend with a trip to Seattle and a pair of doubleheaders against the Snoqualmie Hurricanes and Northwest Honkers.

Trail hosted the B.C. Senior Men’s Baseball championship last August, but will sit out this year’s event due, in part, to a shortage of available players.

“We had some guys make other commitments for this weekend and with the usual few guys with work conflicts it just left us way too thin to expect to go and compete for five or six games at that level,” said player-manager Jim Maniago. “We could have gone with a real short squad but it just didn’t make sense.”

The championship begins today in Kamloops, and the host Sun Devils, with Trail transplants Pat Brown and Cam Strachan on the roster, look to repeat as provincial champions.

It’s the first provincial championship the AM Ford Orioles have missed in a number of years, but it’s not for lack of talent. The Orioles split their games with the Snoqualmie Hurricanes on the weekend winning 4-2 and losing 5-2, before dropping a pair of close 6-5 and 6-2 games against the Northwest Honkers in Pacific International League action.

“It seems to be the sign of the times now,” said Maniago. “There are a lot of options for people to do with their summer, and baseball, even provincials, isn’t the top priority.”

With the emergence of young players like Jake Lucchini, Riley Brandt, and Scott Davidson, and the return of veteran talents like pitcher Chris Kissock to the line up, the Orioles seemed poised to make a legitimate run at the title, especially after making the playoff at last year’s tournament. But injuries, work commitments, and various setbacks have tempered the Orioles success this year, making the decision to skip the tournament a difficult but necessary one.

“It’s too bad, looking at our full roster and what other teams are bringing, I think we would have had a pretty good chance at winning this weekend.”

Maniago has also received calls from other teams attending the tournament, looking to supplement their roster with some of Trail’s seasoned talent.

“It’s not just us, I’ve had calls from four other teams looking to pick a few of us up and they have the same challenges, they just have 30 guys to begin with and we don’t have that luxury.”

Eight teams will compete in this year’s Senior Men’s provincials including Kamloops, Langley Blaze, Nanaimo Coalminers, Prince George Axemen, Coquitlam Angels, Kelowna Jays, VIBI Muckers, and Victoria Mavericks.

The Sun Devils won the championship last year over the Blaze in an epic 15-inning 5-4 victory, in which Brown scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh to put the game into extra innings.  Few thought it would go eight extra. The five-hour marathon ended when Adam Halland’s single over short scored MVP Luc Simpson.

The Sun Devils will also travel to Chatham, N.B., Aug, 20-24, to play in the National Senior Men’s Baseball championship, which was won by Langley last year.

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