The Greater Trail AA Orioles baseball team opened their season in a familiar setting but unfamiliar circumstances on Wednesday.
The AA Orioles play in the Washington State American Legion AA Baseball League in Spokane, but, this year will get a jump on the competition by playing in the Trail Youth Baseball’s XBL Senior league at Butler Park.
“That’s new,” said AA Orioles assistant coach Dallas Calvin. “We got in there just to use it as an extra 20 games, and have some of the younger guys playing at a bit of a higher level, and seeing some harder pitching, and get ready for the (Legion) season.”
About 30 players, age 17 and under, showed up for the tryouts at Butler Park earlier this month, and among the returnees from last year’s team include Tyler Atkinson, Derek Green, Nathan Soukeroff, Colton Miracle, Austin and Reece Tambellini, Brendan Makay, Ross St. Jean, and Casey Harrison, while new recruits are Joel Aubert, Daniel Gagnier, and 13-year-old Austin Cox. Alison Schroder, Justin Coombes and Kian Johnston will see action on their dual roster.
“The team looks good,” said Calvin. “We got a lot of guys coming back that were with us last year, and a few guys coming up that played with the single-A guys last year, but we’re looking like it should be a good season.”
Last year the AA Orioles finished tied for fifth at 7-7 in the Federal League, but Calvin expects the experience of returning players and strong fundamentals should push them up the standings, and hopefully into the district playoffs.
“I’d say we have good pitching and hitting, I think the thing we’ll work on the most is our defence.”
The AA Orioles will start the American Legion season at the end of May with most of the matches on weekends, and will compete in the XBL Men’s division during the week.
The XBL should provide good practice for the AA team with the Grand Forks Blues and the Trail Pirates, Tigers, Expos, and Indians rounding out the division.
“You just got to come out ready to learn and have fun. There is a lot of stuff to be learned, and a lot of coaching moments, and as long as everyone is willing to do that we should be fine.”
Trail is hoping to host a tournament in June, and will participate in the Wood Bat Tournament in Spokane in July.
Ron and Kyle Mace will return as coaches, with Kyle Paulson and Calvin assisting.
To see more on the Trail AA Orioles visit their Facebook page.
Trail played the Tigers in their opening match Wednesday but the score was unavailable at press time.