Orioles up for challenge

The Trail AM Ford Orioles host their stiffest competition of the season this weekend at Butler Park against Thurston County Senators.

The Trail AM Ford Orioles host their stiffest competition of the season this weekend at Butler Park, as they get set for a three-game series against the Thurston County Senators Saturday and Sunday.

The Orioles have played the Senators three times this year losing by scores of 2-1, 3-2, and a semifinal 2-1 loss in extra-innings at the Canada Day Baseball Blast tournament in Kelowna.

“They will be the best team to come here this summer,” said O’s player-coach Jim Maniago. “They are all current US college guys with a few ex-college/pro players from the Seattle area.”

The Sens have a college summer league in Puget Sound and they pick an all-star team from that league to travel with, and have made the money round in both Kelowna and the Grand Forks International tournaments the past few years.

“Their pitching is solid, their defense is excellent and they are fast, and use their speed to manufacture runs,” added Maniago. “They play hard and are run like a college program and do things the right way.”

The O’s have competed with them in every game and were a strike away from a victory at the Blast tournament earlier this month. Trail will respond by sending Kyle Paulson to the mound in the opening match with Darrin Kissock, Dallas Calvin, and Scott Rhynold being possible starters in Games 2 and 3. Trail has been on a roll of late, losing just one game (to the Senators) in its last eight matches.

Butler Park should attract a good crowd with an assortment of food and refreshments for both adults and kids, as well as a 50-50 draw going throughout the weekend.

Game time for the doubleheader Saturday is at 5 and 7 p.m. with the final game going Sunday at 11 a.m. Next weekend the O’s host the Cranbrook Bandits in a three-game series to see who goes to the provincials in Victoria Aug. 2-5.