The Trail AA Orioles kicked off their Washington State American Legion (WSAL) baseball season on a winning note with a pair of victories over the U16 Coeur d’Alene team and will continue this weekend with a four-game set at home.
The Orioles scored six runs in the first inning, then rolled to a 12-1 victory in the first match, and followed up with a 4-0 shutout win in the second half of the double header Sunday.
The Orioles prepared for the American Legion season by playing in Trail’s XBL league, and while the results of the opening matches were impressive, coach Kyle Mace is still looking for improvement.
“There is still some work to be done for sure,” said Mace. “A lot of mental mistakes that come from kids not having played at this level. I think a lot of the kids aren’t use to the expectations that the coaching staff puts on them. It’s a big step for some of these kids that haven’t been held so accountable.”
The Orioles dominated a young Couer d’Alene team playing its first season in the WSAL, but Trail will face a tougher test this weekend when they play the equally undefeated North Central in a pair of games Saturday and Sunday.
“We played them (North Central) last year. They’ll be decent, they’ll be pretty good but it will be a test to see where we’re at. It’s still early in the year, but our goal is just to make it to the Districts and once we get there we want to be peaking at the right time.”
The Cranbrook AA Bandits will also join the O’s and North Central for a mini tournament at Butler Park with each team playing the other teams twice for a total of six games going at Butler Friday and Saturday.
As the first two games of the WSAL indicate, pitching (0.5 ERA) is a strength for the AA Orioles. Defence also has held its own, says Mace, but his biggest concern is getting production from the bats up and down the line up.
“We need to come around at the plate big time. The three kids we thought we’re going to hit are hitting, but the next ones aren’t very close at all.”
As expected, returning players Brendan Makay and Reece Tambellini are leading the way at the plate, but Mace is pleasantly surprised with the output of rookies Nate and Marty Ingram who have also generated some run production.
“Both Ingram boys have been totally impressive. They just grind away at bats, and find a way to get it done.”
The AA O’s are also relatively young so Mace, the hitting coach, has been tweaking swings and working with mechanics to help players improve their technique.
“We overhauled a couple swings and those kids are starting to hit and it will come, they’re still just getting use to their new swing.”
The Trail AA Orioles also confirmed that six teams will play in its inaugural Fathers’ Day Invitational baseball tournament June 17-19. Joining the Orioles will be Ferris, Gonzaga Prep, Mead, Rogers, and Calgary for the three-day wood bat tournament.
“The plan is to do this every Fathers’ Day weekend so the dads can come watch their kids play baseball.”
This weekend the Os play Cranbrook on Saturday at 11 a.m. and North Central at 4 p.m., while Cranbrook takes on North Central at 11:30 a.m. On Sunday, the AA Orioles face North Central at 11:30 a.m. and Cranbrook at 2 p.m.
The Trail single-A Orioles will also open its WSAL ‘A’ baseball season at home with a double header against Lewis Clark at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday.