The Trail AM Ford Orioles made a remarkable run at the Canada Day Baseball Blast tournament in Kelowna on the weekend, coming one out away from a berth in Monday’s final against the Seattle Studs.
The Orioles swept throught the round robin going 3-0 with wins over Okanagan Athletics, 8-7, and Burnaby Collegiate, 3-1 and 4-2, then taking out the Coquitlam Angels 6-5 in the quarter-final before facing Seattle’s Thurston County Senators in the semifinal.
“Overall, it was great,” said Oriole player-coach Jim Maniago. “That was the best baseball our team has played since we won provincials in 2008. Our pitching was excellent, defense was solid and we finally came through with the clutch hitting needed to win games.”
In Monday morning’s semifinal, Kyle Paulson pitched five-and-two-thirds innings of shut out ball, before the Orioles could capitalize. Maniago scored Chris Florko with a two-out base hit, and the O’s would take a tenuous 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh inning. The Orioles managed to get the first two outs, but a bean ball off the hand walked the third batter, and with one strike, the Senator lead-off hitter doubled to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
The Orioles would be unable to score in the bottom half of the seventh, and in the top of eight, a walk and a pass ball put runners on first and second.
With the game and a possible extra $5,000 on the line, the next batter singled on an 0-and-2 pitch to make it 2-1, sending Thurston County to the final against the Seattle Studs, and bringing an end to one of the best runs the Trail Orioles ever had at the tournament.
Nevertheless the Orioles played great ball all weekend, particularly in clutch situations, where they rallied consistently with two outs, overcoming deficits of five and seven runs. They also pocketed a cool $2,000, also reminding co-coach Dave Colquhoun of past provincial championship teams.
“The boys hit, and we bunted when we needed to get guys over,” but more importantly says Colquhoun, “We scored guys with two outs, I mean if you can score runs with two outs, you’ll win more games. The guys played awesome, and reminded me of the year we won the provincials and Western Bs.”
The Seattle Studs would eventually win the tournament with an extra-inning 4-3 win over Thurston to take home $7,000 while the runner-up Senators would settle for $4,000.
Game 1: The Orioles beat Burnaby Collegiate in the first match 3-1, on the strength of Kyle Paulson’s complete game three hitter. Burnaby jumped out to a first inning lead, but the O’s would tie in the fourth, and in the top of seven, Brady Glover singled home Kyle Mace to give Trail the 2-1 lead. Scott Davidson would come up and knock in Glover for the insurance run.
Game 2: The Orioles found themselves down 7-0 after two innings to the Okanagan Athletics. But Kellen Jones came into pitch and threw five-and-one-third innings, giving up no runs while striking out seven to shut the door.
The Orioles replied by scoring five runs in the bottom of three, all with two out. Scott Davidson, Jim Maniago, Dallas Calvin, Jordon Kissock, Kyle Mace all had two out RBIs consecutively.
Trail tied it in the fifth with Jordan Kissock’s two run single. Then in the bottom of the seventh, with Dallas Calvin on second, Darrin Kissock had the game winning, walk-off base hit. Everyone in the lineup had at least one of the 14 hits with Scott Davidson going 3-for-4.
Game 3: The Orioles played Burnaby Collegiate again because the Calgary Redbirds had backed out due to the floods.
Dallas Calvin pitched a complete game three hitter, striking out 10 as the O’s went on to a 4-2 victory.
The O’s grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth with two out singles from Glover and Florko. Then, with the game tied 2-2, two out RBIs from Florko and Maniago put the O’s ahead for good in the sixth. Davidson was 3-for-4, Glover 2-for-2, and Florko 2-for-3.
Quarterfinal vs Coquitlam.
The Orioles beat Coquitlam Angels 6-5 in another astounding come-from-behind victory.
Down 5-1 in the fourth, Jordan Kissock came in to shut the door, throwing three scoreless innings, as the O’s rallied, scoring two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to close the gap to 5-4.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, Calvin led off with a double and scored on Kissock’s single.
Mace walked, and Darrin Kissock bunted them over before Glover came through with another walk-off base hit.
Calvin and Glover were 3-for-4, and Joel Graf went 2-for-3 at the plate.