AM Ford Orioles: Senior men’s Orioles come out swinging

The Orioles dominated the Kelowna Jays in the opening match, before shutting out the Angels in the nightcap.

The Trail AM Ford Orioles opened its baseball season in lights-out fashion on the weekend shutting out the Kelowna Jays and Coquitlam Angels in a pair of games on Saturday in Kelowna.

The Orioles dominated the Jays in the opening match with a 9-0 victory, before shutting out the Angels 10-0 in the nightcap.

Dallas Calvin threw six innings of no-hit ball, while striking out six batters with no walks. Kelowna managed two hits in the final innings, but Trail had them in trouble every inning and pounded out 16 hits, while scoring  three in the fifth and sixth to bust it open.

“We’ve got a mix of our older guys this year with the young hockey players (Scott Davidson, Jake Lucchini, Riley Brandt, and Dallas Calvin),” said player and Orioles’ GM Jim Maniago. “Those guys are great athletes and will only help.”

Lucchini went 3-for-4, while Chris Kissock, Dallas Calvin, Maniago, and Jaret Conway all had two hits, and Cam Ferguson knocked in three runs for the O’s.

In Saturday’s second match up against the Angels, Kissock overpowered Coquitlam hitters going six strong innings, and giving up just two hits, while striking out six.

The Orioles scored six runs in the sixth inning to end the game on the 10-run rule, as Calvin went 4-for-5 and was a dinger short of the cycle. Maniago was 3-for-4, and scored three times, while Brandt notched his first hit as an Oriole.

But as good as the hitting and pitching was on Saturday, by Sunday it had all but disappeared. The O’s fell to the Jays 3-2 in extra innings, then with only nine players available, suffered a 10-0 loss to the Angels with Conway getting the only Oriole hit.

“Game 4 we ran out of gas, had a bad start and our pitchers struggled with control . . . our short bench came back to haunt us,” added Maniago. “But adding Chris Kissock obviously is huge. Although losing Joe Underwood will be a hole we won’t fill in the batting order.”

The addition of Kissock, a Philadelphia Phillies draft pick, will give the O’s the extra arm it needs to compete with teams like the Langley Blaze, Kamloops Sun Devils, and Burnaby Bulldogs at provincial tournaments and in the Pacific International League.

Underwood proved not only valuable on defence last season, but had one of the hottest bats last year. However, the Frutivale native signed with the Okotoks Dawgs of the Western Major Baseball League last month, after a stellar season at Bryan College in Tenessee. The former Oriole shortstop batted .362, hit six home runs and 10 doubles, and was named second team ACC-All Star third baseman, in helping Bryan to a 44-18 record, the best in its history.

The Orioles now get set to host a four-game tilt against the Jays at Butler Park this weekend. The Orioles are still building and hope to be a factor when it competes in Kelowna’s Baseball Blast Tournament June 25-28, the Grand Forks International June 30 to July 5, and the Senior Men’s BC Baseball championship in Kamloops July 28 to Aug. 4.

“We are also hoping to confirm a couple of other notable pitching additions this week,” said Maniago. “We should be in the mix with everyone this year, the one question as always is do we have the depth to win over a busy tournament schedule.”

The O’s play the Kelowna Jays at 4 and 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday at Butler Park.