The Trail AM Ford Sr. Mens Orioles put in a solid performance at the PWB BC Senior Men’s Baseball championship in Nanaimo over the long weekend.
The Orioles scrapped their way to the semifinal with a thrilling 5-3 victory over the Kamloops Sun Devils on Sunday in the quarterfinal, before bowing out to the eventual champions, Burnaby Bulldogs, on Monday.
“We played pretty good,” said Orioles player Chris Kissock, who got the win on the mound against the Sun Devils. “It was tough, but I think our team played pretty well getting to the semifinals of this tournament. There are some pretty good teams here.”
Trail beat the Sun Devils on the strength of a strong outing from Kissock and a late-inning home run from Joey Underwood.
“That’s what we were hoping for, giving me a chance to pitch against them (in the semifinal), and it could have went either way.”
The Orioles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Kamloops replied tying it in the bottom half. Trail reclaimed the lead in the second, and the teams exchanged runs in the fifth, before Underwood belted a solo shot in the sixth for the 5-3 lead and eventual victory.
“That home run took the spirit out of them,” said Kissock.
The Orioles opened the provincial tournament on Saturday with a 12-10 victory over Prince George Greys to essentially guarantee a playoff spot.
“We weren’t very good defensively, but our bats were alive. It took us a while to get going but we scored 11 runs in the one inning.”
The Orioles were down 3-1, when the bats exploded and the Os made it 12-3. But just to keep it exciting the Greys came back with seven of their own to keep it close. Trail, however, fell to the host Nanaimo Coal Miners 9-5 Saturday night, before losing to the Coquitlam Angels 9-2 Sunday morning to close out the round robin.
Nevertheless, the lone win put the Orioles in third out of four teams in Pool A and was enough to get them to the quarterfinal Sunday afternoon against Kamloops, who finished second in Pool B.
Burnaby coasted through the round robin starting with a 16-0 shellacking of the Victoria Mavericks, a 12-6 win over Kamloops, and and a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Muckers Sunday morning for a bye to the semis. Burnaby beat Trail 10-0 then rolled over Coquitlam 7-2 in the final to win the BC title.
“They are pretty good, and they have so many guys on their roster, and we don’t have enough to sustain that the whole weekend,” said Kissock.
The Orioles picked up a couple extra arms for the weekend tournament, but was primarily made up of local talent that performed well considering the opposition.
“We’re a different group than the other teams. They have a bunch of college players that haven’t really settled into work yet; we’re a bunch of family guys that have jobs, and it’s harder to compete with that. But I think if we get the guys out, I think we’ll be just fine.”