O’s split first two in Grand Forks

Trail ‘pitchin’ to be in the money

The AM Ford Trail Orioles started the Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament (GFI) on the right foot by taking out the host team Wednesday night but stumbled losing to Team Canada Thursday.

The 31st annual GFI tournament dishes out  $43,000 in prize money and is host to 12 teams from across North America and Australia.

In the Orioles first game at James Donaldson Park, the O’s pounded the Grand Forks Blues 20-6.

The recent Western Canada Baseball champs jumped out to a first inning 5-0 lead and didn’t look back, counting runs in the second and third before adding four in the fifth and nine runs in the sixth to put the game away.

Jordan Konklin got the win for the O’s pitching six strong innings, giving up three hits and four earned runs, walking five and striking out six. Justin Kitcher came in to close out the seventh allowing one hit and one unearned run while striking out two.

Joey Underwood went 4 for 5, scoring four runs with an RBI, while Dustin Bissonnette went 2 for 4 with three ribbies and Chris Florko knocked in three runs on a double in the fifth.

In Thursday’s match the O’s faced Team Canada, a squad that features mostly University of British Columbia players.

They proved too strong for the Orioles as Trail dropped a 7-0 decision. Darrin Kissock took the loss on the mound, yielding seven runs on nine hits in eight innings, with six strikeouts and seven walks. Underwood and Kyle Paulson went 1 for 2 while Bissonette was 2 for 4 at the plate.

In earlier games the Victoria Mavericks lost to the Thurston County Senators 9-2, the Langley Sr. Blaze topped the Australia Geelong Baycats 9-4 and the host Grand Forks Blues were blown out by the Stars of San Diego, 28-2.

The Orioles play San Diego Stars on Saturday at 5 p.m. in their final game of the round robin. The top eight teams make the money round that goes on Sunday and Monday.