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College Prep Baseball: Strong defence and pitching lift Orioles to split with Cougars

Trail U18 Orioles eke out 1-0 victory over Chilliwack Cougars in closing match of doubleheader

The Trail U18 Orioles earned a split with the Chilliwack Cougars on Saturday at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park.

Great pitching and better defence helped the Orioles to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Chilliwack team in the second match of a doubleheader.

Trail fell 2-0 in Game 1, their bats staying relatively quiet until late.

“We ended up outhitting them 6-5, but they managed to squeeze a couple single runs in and we didn’t have a runner reach second base until the seventh when we loaded the bases with nobody out,” said Orioles coach Jim Maniago. “They got out of it with a pop up, a strikeout and a flyout. Was a good game, we just didn’t hit.”

The O’s Logan Bradford took the loss, despite pitching a complete game 5 hitter with only one walk.

In the second match up, consecutive singles from Kullen Benbow and Julien Knelsen were followed by a one-out single by Landon Gustafson that put the Orioles in front 1-0.

Chilliwack threatened in the fourth inning with two runners on and nobody out, but a diving catch and throwout at first by shortstop Owen Dickson and another spectacular diving catch in right field helped the O’s get out of the inning unscathed.

Julien Knelsen pitched 4 1/3 of scoreless ball for the win, while Dickson came in and pitched the last 2 2/3 to get the save.

“Our pitching and defense was outstanding,” said Maniago. “We didn’t hit much but as a young team with only three Grade 12s, we expected that. This league is a Grade 12 league and we are competing with a young and inexperienced team.

Trail will play two doubleheaders at Butler Park this weekend against Ridge Meadows Royals on Saturday and Sunday.

The Royals have one win so far this season and the Orioles will like to keep it that way, looking for their third and fourth victories this season.

“Ridge Meadows should be a good team,” added Maniago. “They are older and picked up seven kids from the Tri Cities team that was not accepted back into College Prep this year. It will be another good test for us.”

The doubleheaders start at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Read: U18 Orioles go 1-3 to open season

Jim Bailey

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