A short-handed AM Ford Trail Orioles squad returned from Seattle and a four-game series with the Northwest Honkers in Pacific International League action on the weekend battered but not bowed.
The Orioles dropped all four games to the Honkers, falling to 2-9 on the season, but did so without four key starters and two of its top four pitchers, including Kellen and Connor Jones who are attending the Edmonton Oilers development camp this week.
“We grabbed a couple guys from Spokane,” said Oriole player/coach Jim Maniago. “We were okay, you go for four days and you need lots of pitching, but our pitching was actually pretty good.”
In the first two games on Saturday the O’s lost both games by identical 3-0 scores. Scott Rhynold pitched in the opener giving up just five hits, five walks and striking out four. Similarly in the second match Kyle Paulson went the distance giving up only three hits and five walks with two Ks.
“We just didn’t hit, but we’re not a strong hitting team to begin with so when you are missing four of your better guys it’s hard.”
In both matches the Honkers manufactured runs off of their speed on the base paths.
In the first inning of the second game, the Honkers got a lead off single from Dustin Breshears followed by a walk to Max Brown. Breshears and Brown then swiped second and third, and each would later score on a ground out and a sacrifice fly.
“We out hit them in the second game . . . but they got some speed and stole 10 or 12 bases.”
Maniago was hot at the plate going 2 for 3 in each game, but the O’s were unable to move runners along and capitalize on their opportunities.
“Early in game two we had guys on second and third with one out, but you know, we strike out too much,” said Maniago. “We’ve got to learn that even just putting the ball in play, even though you go out, sometimes it scores a run.”
In the double-header Sunday, the Orioles managed to plate runners, but a lack of arms proved to be the difference. The Honkers quickness on the base paths also helped as they stole five bases enroute to 9-2 win in the top half of the double bill and a 7-2 victory in the bottom half.
Trail out hit the Honkers in the first game seven to six, with Maniago going 2 for 3 and 6 for 11 on the weekend. And in the final game, O’s catcher Leonel Delmar finally caught up to the Honkers, throwing out both Brown and Padilla on attempted steals.