The Spokane American Legion ‘A’ and ‘AA’ Baseball seasons are coming down to the nitty gritty for the West Kootenay ‘A’ and the Trail ‘AA’ Orioles.
Both teams are going into the final weekend with their playoff hopes intact, however, the ‘A’ and ‘AA’ O’s will need wins at the most critical time of the year if they are to advance.
In two close and exciting matches against Medical Lake at Butler Park on Sunday, the ‘A’ Orioles managed a come-from-behind 10-9 win in the opener, and followed that up with a pitching gem from Kai Birks in Game 2 that earned the team a 5-3 victory and a sweep of Medical Lake.
In the first match of the doubleheader, the Orioles trailed Medical Lake 9-5 in the bottom of the sixth. But the Orioles loaded the bases, and Sam McLaren hit a three-run double to claw the O’s to within one run.
Darrin Issel then walked, and Steven Ross hit a two-out grounder, but running hard to first, Steven caused an error by the first baseman, and McLaren and Issel came around to score with a close play at the plate to win the game 10-9.
In the second game, it was more of a pitchers’ duel with Birks going the distance, throwing 84 pitches, and giving up three runs on five hits for the 5-3 win.
The two wins push the O’s record to 8-6 and a tie for fifth place, yet, they are just 3.5 games behind first-place Mead-2. The Orioles remain in contention for a playoff spot, but will likely have to win their remaining four road games and rely on other teams to lose ground in order to make the District playoffs.
“It is mathematically possible for us to make it into the top three,” said Orioles manager Keith DeWitt. “But I don’t think we could afford to lose any more games. We will need to win out and see where we end up.”
Only the top three teams from the National Division make it into the playoffs, however, West Kootenay has two doubleheaders remaining against the top two teams in the division.
The ‘A’ Orioles play 10-6 Mead-2 today at noon and 2 p.m. in Spokane, and finish their regular season against the 6-2 Prairie Cardinals on Saturday in Post Falls.
The Trail AA Orioles have been idle for more than a week but were back in action again on Wednesday against the Rogers Pirates, however, the scores were unavailable at press time.
Trail sits in second place in the National AA Division with a 7-3 record trailing 12-1 Colville by 3.5 games. The ‘AA’ O’s are poised for a District playoff berth if they can maintain their position, but have a tough road ahead of them in their final four games.
Trail also plays tonight against division leading Colville in Colville at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., before wrapping up their season on Saturday in Chewelah with a two-game set against the 8-5 host team that trails the Orioles by just half a game.