The U18 West Kootenay Orioles kicked off its season last weekend with mixed results in two back-to-back doubleheaders.
The Orioles were excited to return to play at Butler Park and open the BC Minor Baseball Association’s 18U College Prep League against the Kelowna Sun Devils on Sunday, after an exhibition series versus Cranbrook Bandits, Saturday.
“It sure was good to be sort of back to normal,” said Orioles coach Jim Maniago. “It was good to get our feet wet and see where we stack up.”
The Orioles started out swinging, clobbering Cranbrook 9-1 in the opening game before falling 6-3 in the nightcap.
In the opening match, Brayden DeWitt brought the heat, pitching a three hitter, while striking out eight batters. Connor Stainer, Nathan Dann and Chance Fisher all had two hits in the game.
In game 2, the Orioles fell behind 4-0 after two innings, and could not complete the comeback in a 6-3 loss.
The O’s Jesse Boyer came in and shut the Bandits down through four innings as the Orioles cut the lead to 4-2. However, a pair of runs in the sixth sealed the win for Cranbrook.
On Sunday, the Orioles opened its BC College Prep League season versus the Kelowna Sun Devils with a disappointing 11-2 loss. A nervous Orioles team struggled in the field and fell behind 8-0 on just four hits after four innings. West Kootenay scored two in the bottom of five but a three-run sixth by the Sun Devils put the game out of reach.
Kelowna’s pitcher allowed just one Orioles hit in the match.
It was a different story in Game 2. The Orioles settled down, as Edyn Barber pitched a complete game four-hitter, with 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory. Jake Maniago belted two doubles and Jesco Kneslen went 2-for-4 for the O’s.
Maniago was happy with the split, and even more so with the start of a real season.
“Given we were missing some of our grade 12s with grad commitments, we feel we did pretty well,” said Maniago. “This weekend we’ll be off to Penticton and Kelowna for four games.”
This year the league will play a shortened 24 game schedule, finishing up in early August with a playoff and finals that has yet to be determined.