For baseball fans, this coming week promises to be the highlight reel of the summer as Trail’s Butler Park gets set to host the Western Canadian Baseball Championships.
The AM Ford Orioles are host team to a powerful lineup of men’s baseball teams hailing from the four western provinces. Along with the host team O’s, the Vernon Diamondbacks are B.C.’s representative and face Provost Pilots from Alberta, Marysburg Royals out of Saskatchewan and the Elmwood Giants from Manitoba.
“All the teams are really good,” says Orioles’ player/manager Jim Maniago. “Wer’e not expecting any easy games we’re just going out there and hopefully win one at a time.”
While the O’s have not played since the provincials in Kelowna over two weeks ago, they have been hard at it on the diamond.
“We’ve had some really good practices and I think guys are feeling pretty good about things . . . (come game time) we’ll be as ready as we’re ever going to be.”
With the loss of Kellen and Conner Jones who returned to Quinnipiac University, the team picked up a few players. But while they have a province full of players from which to choose, they wanted to stick to guys with local connections, said Maniago.
The team added Pat Brown, a Trail native, who now lives in Kamloops and is a great infielder and pitcher.
The O’s also stocked up on some big arms, signing up Nathan Kirby and Scott Rhynold who is married to a Fruivale girl.
The tournament starts Thursday evening with the host Orioles taking on Team B.C. at 7 p.m. at Butler Park.
Beer gardens, concession, 50/50 draws and raffles will be available.
The last time Trail hosted the tournament was in 1997, when the home team lost to Surrey in the final. The 2001 tournament in Saskatchewan was the last time the O’s won the event.