The Trail Orioles were singing the blues on the weekend after a combination of errors and late inning collapses cost them three of four games against tough Pacific International League rivals.
The O’s traveled to the coast expecting their biggest challenge of the season as they faced the Northwest Honkers from Bellevue and the league leading Seattle Studs.
They got it.
The first game was much closer than the score indicated said player/coach Jim Maniago.
“We were tied in the third then made back-to-back, two-out errors and gave up five unearned runs which changed the game around.”
Connor Jones and Joe Underwood were both 2 for 3 at the plate in the 13-3 loss.
In game two, the Jays played solid defensively and gave starter Darrin Kissock some run support early.
The lanky right-hander pitched a masterful complete game, nurturing a shutout into the sixth, and striking out seven in his best outing of the season for the 5-2 win.
The O’s scored three in the first and two in the fifth and held the lead on the strength of Kissock’s pitching. Maniago and Kellen Jones both scored twice.
On Sunday the Trail squad tangled in a two-game set against the Studs. The O’s dropped the first game 5-1 but were in a close game until the late innings.
“We were 2-1 into the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t score. Again, a two-out error led to two unearned runs.”
Dawson Weilep pitched six strong innings and held the hard-hitting Studs to only six hits.
Another late inning collapse was the story in the second end of the doubleheader. The Studs were in a tight 4-3 game in the fifth but stranded runners on second and third base without scoring a run.
The Studs made them pay, as they scored three in the bottom of five to break it open.
Joe Underwood batted 2 for 3 for the O’s.
“We were pretty happy with the weekend on the whole,” said Maniago. “We split with the Honkers and hung in there with the Studs.
“It all comes down to timely hitting and playing good defense. The team that does that wins, if you don’t – you lose. The margin for error is small and it seems like every mistake we make costs us two runs.”
With the two wins the Studs are now 16 and 3 and sit atop the division by one game over the Everett Merchants. In the past 12 months, the Studs have won the Grand Forks International, the Kelowna tournament twice, the Kamloops International and finished second at the World Baseball Classic World Series.
The O’s are off this weekend before heading to Kelowna for the provincial tournament. The Orioles play Victoria, either Burnaby or Langley and then Kamloops.
“We could go 3-0 or 0-3 depending on how we play.”
The Orioles next home games are Aug. 25-28, when they host the Western Canadian Championship at Butler Park.