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Trail 18U Orioles fall in first two of College Prep season

Kelowna Sun Devils sweep doubleheader against Trail 18U Orioles on Sunday

The Trail 18U Orioles opened their B.C. Baseball College Prep season on a promising note, despite dropping two games to the Kelowna Sun Devils on Sunday at Jason Bay Field.

The Sun Devils started out with a 10-6 victory in the opening game, and followed that up with a close 4-1 win in the second half of the doubleheader.

“They were two good games and lots of positives to take away for sure,” said Orioles head coach Jim Maniago. “The good news in the first game was that we had them in trouble every inning, the bad news was that we didn’t cash in enough.”

First inning jitters for Orioles starting pitcher Levi Konken had the Sun Devils jump out to a 5-1 lead with Raiden Dobie driving in the O’s run in the bottom of one.

The Orioles stranded runners on base every inning until the fourth when they cashed in their base runners, and tied the game on hits from Dayton Graf, Thane Joyce and Kullen Benbow, and a Kelowna error.

The Sun Devils responded in the top of the fifth, and plated three runs for an 8-5 lead.

The teams exchanged runs in the sixth and Kelowna doused an Orioles threat in the late going for the 10-6 victory.

“Some of it was bad base running and some of our inexperience showing through which we’re hopeful will improve quickly,” said Maniago. “Some over-aggressiveness and trying to do a bit too much.”

Konken went five innings giving up eight hits, and three earned runs while striking out five and giving up one walk.

Benbow, Dobie and Konken each had two hits for the Orioles.

In the second game, Kelowna scored first on a fielder’s choice in the second inning. The Orioles tied it when Konken singled in the bottom of the fourth, driving in Dobie.

But the Sun Devils scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of six, and two more in seven for the 4-1 final.

Orioles veteran Owen Dickson pitched a strong game, giving up eight hits and one earned run, with seven Ks and two walks through six innings.

The Orioles have only had two practices prior to the opening season matchup, which may have manifested itself in their troubles on the basepaths, and inability to execute.

Maniago says that the team works on situational hitting every time they take batting practice, executing hit-and-runs, bunting, and stealing bases etc.

“We did some of that and it worked, but at other times we struck out when we needed to put the ball in play and it cost us some runs.”

The Orioles coach was impressed by his first year players, who contributed, but says he will also challenge his veteran players to be more consistent.

“The rookies all contributed and showed they belong which also was a positive. We need our older players to bring a bit more and they will.

“I think we will be a scrappy team.”

The Orioles will host the Cranbrook Bandit’s American Legion team at noon and 2:30 p.m. this Sunday (April 21) at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park.

Trail will travel to the Lower Mainland for four games the following weekend against North Shore on Saturday, April 27 and North Fraser Nationals on Sunday, April 28.

“It seems like the league has a lot of parity this year so we’ll need to pick up some wins every weekend,” added Maniago.

Jim Bailey

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