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Veteran Royals throw learning curve at U18 Orioles

Ridge Meadows Royals sweeps four-game series against the Trail U18 Orioles
Trail U18 Orioles third baseman Logan Bradford makes a play on a hard grounder from a Ridge Meadow Royals batter on Sunday at Butler Park. Photo: Jim Bailey

A young Trail U18 Orioles team learned some hard lessons from the veteran Ridge Meadows Royals in College Prep League baseball action on the weekend.

The Orioles lost all four games in its two doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday (April 29-30) at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park.

In the first two matches the Orioles had trouble at the plate losing 5-0 in the opener and 13-1 in the evening match.

“They are an older team and they did what they should against a young team,” said Orioles coach Jim Maniago. “We really weren’t good on any side of the ball. Pitching, defense, hitting, baserunning, everything needs to be better than it was.”

Orioles pitcher Logan Bradford had a solid outing on the mound in the opening match, but received no run support, while the Royals scored runs that were all unearned.

“It was a good learning experience though and raises the bar to what the kids have seen,” said Maniago. “Things happen fast and if you don’t know what you are going to do on the bases or in the field before the play happens, you are too late and mistakes are made.

“It’s all about thinking ahead so when the play comes you just do it, there’s no hesitation.”

On Sunday, the Orioles managed to score runs in each match but struggled defensively. Ridge Meadows won by scores of 10-4 and 16-4, although the games could have been much closer.

The Orioles stranded runners on the bases in the early innings, killed their own rallies with poor base running, and gave up runs on errors in the field.

“We did look for some positives,” said Maniago. “We had way better at bats Sunday compared to Saturday. We need to get better about scoring runs when we have guys on, they did that.

“We’d walk someone or make an error and they would follow with a big hit to score. We were given a lot of walks and had some hits to set the table Sunday, but just never had the big hit to make them hurt.”

Orioles rookies Darren Mailey threw three innings of solid relief in Sunday’s first game, while Raiden Dobie had a strong game at the plate in the final match, going 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.

“There were some signs of kids breaking out of slumps that will help us moving forward,” said Maniago. “Pitching wise, it’s all about throwing strikes.

“It’s hard with wood bats to string a bunch of hits together but if you are gifted walks and errors then one or two hits provide you with a bunch of runs.

“We did have some pitchers come in relief and do a good job, so that will build confidence moving forward.”

Trail has a rare weekend off as far as games go, but will work on the basics in preparation for the Chilliwack Cougars May, 12-13 in Chilliwack.

“We’re going to practice this weekend and work through a bunch of things,” added Maniago. “The Chilliwack weekend will be tough, but then after that the schedule does get a bit easier for us.

“Saying that, no games are easy and in this league if you don’t play well you won’t win no matter who you are up against. Our goal is to make the playoffs and we’ll work towards that.”

The Orioles split their games with Chilliwack at home on April 22, losing 2-0 in the first game and winning a close 1-0 battle in the second half of the doubleheader.

Read: Strong pitching, defence lifts Orioles to split with Chilliwack

Jim Bailey

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