One could infer, if one was so inclined, that recent weeks have shown that the Home of Champions is still a pretty good sports town.
Swim and track meets, golf and soccer tournaments, triathlon races and other events have all produced strong showings by local competitors, and many smiles from participants.
That holds true with our, “Second Sport,” baseball, in spades.
The AA Diamondbacks were dominant in their international league, won their first playoff game Wednesday, and are playing in the winners bracket as I compose this. The A Phillies are resurgent in theirs and began in that level’s playoff tournament Thursday afternoon, after starting the season 0-6,
AND, the Orioles, with a .333 winning percentage just a couple of weeks ago, have won seven of eight (their only loss in extra innings), began a three weekend stretch at Butler Park last weekend with a sweep of Vernon and could very well rise to .500 or better before they head off to the provincials in early August.
Trail has always been and is showing itself once again to be one of the few Canadian towns that holds its own in, “America’s Game,” with the people that claim to have invented it.
I have been to lots of areas along the U.S. border where ball folks have been almost disdainful of Canadian play. Even here, every time some guy new to a baseball bastion in the bordering country encounters the difficulty of taking on Trail teams, he seems surprised.
It has been ever thus. Pickup local senior teams in Spokane half a century ago were competitive, even though, as now, many of the many good players developed here were not in the mix due to moving on to school and careers elsewhere.
The previous hosts from Texas were shocked at the quality of both the organization and the calibre of local play at the Babe Ruth World series almost 20 years ago. Our Legion teams have earned grudging respect from managers from ball hotbeds like Lewiston over the years, and not just because they never expected to see talents such as major league star Jason Bay – who wasn’t, by the way, that much of a standout on the local teams on which he played.
Well, the Orioles, with a sometimes sketchy roster due to work and other commitments, are also proving the value of our local coaching. It’s true they are 0-3 against this weekend’s opponents, Thurston County, but the close losses suggest there is every chance they will win one or more of this weekend’s games.
They finish their home season against Cranbrook, against whom they will be strongly favoured to win.
So, as I said, the Orioles could, after another rough start – due in part to not having anything like a full roster early in the season – get back to a respectable record before the provincials begin, on the strength of strong second half numbers.
The park is nice, the ball is good and the team has something to strive towards and enjoys your support.
So, there’s an entertainment option for you that won’t break the bank, or the back, and continues a Trail tradition.