A win coupled with a pair of losses over the last week has kept the inconsistent White Rock Tritons from climbing the BC Premier Baseball League standings, but the team’s head coach is confident they can pull themselves out of their funk before it’s too late.
White Rock dropped a 3-2 road game Tuesday night to the first-place Langley Blaze, and on Sunday split a home doubleheader against the Victoria Mariners, losing the first game 17-2 before rebounding with an 8-3 victory. The Tritons sit 11th in the 13-team under-18 league, with a 9-17 win-loss record.
“We’ve been a bit up and down, playing a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. Some days we play great, some days we don’t,” head coach Mike Hughes explained.
“I think it’s a bit of a focus issue, we haven’t come to play with energy every game… It’s frustrating, but I think it’s definitely a solvable problem.
“We still have half the schedule left, and we’re only a few games out of a playoff spot, and we know we can compete with any team in the league. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to get in (to playoffs) if we play to our ability.”
The Tritons certainly lacked energy and focus in Sunday’s lopsided Game 1 loss to Victoria, which lasted six innings and saw the visitors score at least two runs in all but the third frame. White Rock, meanwhile, was largely stymied by Victoria’s pitchers, and managed just five hits – all singles save for a double from outfielder Corbin Smith.
“We just didn’t compete – we were flat-out beat,” Hughes said of the loss.
Hughes was impressed with how his squad bounced back in the second game of the day, however – and was especially happy with the play of junior-team call-up Logan MacNeil, who got the start on the mound for the U18s. MacNeil lasted five innings, striking out five Mariners while allowing just one earned run and three hits.
“Logan came up and gave us a really good start. He got us on the right track, we scored early and we were able to finish it off,” Hughes said of his starter, who threw a no-hitter with the U16 Junior Tritons back in April.
Jacob Hart took over on the mound for the final two innings, striking out one while keeping Victoria off the base paths entirely – he issued no walks and allowed no hits.
Offensively, White Rock was led again by Smith, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and a run-batted-in. Michael Rachman and Marshal Luiz also had doubles in the win.
In Tuesday’s one-run loss in Langley, the Tritons held a brief 2-0 lead after plating a pair in the top of the second, but Langley returned fire in the bottom half of the inning with a single run of their own, and then tacked on additional runs in the third and fifth innings, respectively.
Pitcher Lukas Frers went the distance for White Rock, lasting the full six innings, striking out three while scattering five hits.
Jackson Hogg had a triple, while the team’s two runs were knocked by catcher Steven Lin and Smith.
There are no PBL league games on the schedule for the Tritons this weekend, and they instead will compete at the Langley Blaze Invitational. And while the Blaze will host the tournament at their home field, McLeod Park, one bracket of the tournament is to be played at South Surrey Athletic Park, and games are scheduled throughout the weekend.
Hughes hoped the weekend’s action will spur his team to success once they return to their regular schedule next week.
“Hopefully we can play well, and try to build some momentum, and get some confidence,” he said.