The Trail Orioles will face their toughest test of the season as they take on the Northwest Honkers out of Bellevue, Wash. in a four-game series at Butler Park this weekend.
The O’s sport a decent five-win and seven-loss record in Pacific International League play and for their first year in the league, player/coach Jim Maniago is pleased.
“We’re lucky, this year we have a bit more depth than we have in the past, so if we’re missing a guy or two we got guys who can step in and play,” said Maniago.
More importantly, in a league full of teams made up college players and ex-pros, the home-grown Trail side is competing well.
“On the whole, our pitching and defense has been pretty solid,” said Maniago.
“Hitting is the variable – when we hit well, we win but when we hit poorly, we lose.”
The coach points to a couple late inning collapses against Kelowna and Kamloops where they were unable to hang on to seventh inning leads.
As a unit, the O’s have had little time to practice or prepare for the league’s high caliber teams especially ones they have never seen play.
“We have no idea what to expect from their pitching or their lineup, only that they’re going to be good, so we won’t know who to key on or who to pitch around or what pitchers we can expect to see, but they are coming in the same way against us.”
With guys like the Jones brothers, Maces, Florcos and Kissocks, the O’s have a good offensive line-up with a few pitching options which they’ll need against the Honkers.
“If we play our best, we’ll win some games but if we don’t, we’ll lose.”
But one thing Maniago is sure of, it will be the best weekend of baseball at Butler Park all summer.
The two double headers will go this Saturday at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Butler Park.