The AM Ford Trail Orioles looked to get off to a flying start as they opened their season in the Pacific International League on the weekend. Unfortunately, the O’s flew into a Monster on Friday before bouncing back Saturday.
The Orioles battled hard against a tough Kelowna Jays side but lost the rubber match Saturday after splitting their first two games in a three game set at Butler Park.
Kelowna Jays’ pitcher Mike Monster hurled an outstanding game to open the series and the PIL’s 20th season, striking out 13 Orioles on two hits and two walks on his way to a 9-0 shutout Friday.
The Orioles bounced back with a 2-1 win in the first game of the double header on Saturday before dropping the second match by the same score.
In the first half of the double bill, it was a scoreless game until with two out in the bottom of the third, Connor Jones walked then stole second and scored on a Kyle Mace single to put the O’s up 1-0. After a scoreless fourth, the O’s would get the winning run in the fifth thanks to added speed on the base paths.
Trail AAA Jays graduate Jesse Rypien led off with a double. Connor Jones pushed him to third on a ground out to second, and Josh Mace would get the RBI after laying down a grounder to the right side.
The Jays made it close in the seventh, when Austin Bartleson stroked a lead off home run off of O’s reliever Kyle Paulson, but the right-hander shut the door after that.
Kellen Jones picked up the win for the Orioles, throwing five strong innings, giving up just one hit and four walks while striking out four. Jesse Rypien and Josh Mace each went 1 for 2 with both Josh and Kyle driving in runs.
In the second half of the double header the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 heading into the eighth and final inning when the Jays rallied.
Kelowna’s Jordan Varga belted a double off reliever Kyle Mace to lead off the inning. After a walk to Jared Varga, Mace got a pop out and ground out to almost get out of the inning unscathed. However, Jordan Devencenzi singled to score Varga from third and give the Jays the 2-1 win.
Scott Rhynold pitched a gem going six strong innings, giving up one hit and striking out nine, while allowing one unearned run.
The Orioles left the bases loaded in the first, but they would score in the second. Jesse Rypien led off with a walk and promptly stole second base. Connor Jones stepped up and delivered, stroking a single and advancing on a throwing error by the pitcher that allowed Rypien to score.
In the two innings that followed, the O’s would get a runner to third base with one out, yet fail to plate the runner, leaving the door open for the Jays. In the top of six Jordan Varga walked to lead off and would later score on an error to tie the game.
Darrin Kissock and Kyle Mace went 2 for 4 for Trail.