Chiefs season under way
They were the last team in the B.C. Premier Baseball League to begin regular season play.
But four wins in six starts last week has the Fraser Valley Chiefs sitting in a tie for fourth place in the 13-team under-18 elite league, exactly where first-year head coach Ernie Hawkins hope they will be at the end of the 48-game season.
Having had all games in the first two weeks of league play postponed by rain, the Chiefs won three straight over the Vancouver Cannons, dropped one to the North Delta Blue Jays, and on Sunday split a double header with the White Rock Tritons at Whalley Stadium.
“It was a tough slog, but the guys came through,” said Hawkins. “Particularly our pitching, it’s been our strong point. The starters for the most part went the distance, and if I can get five or six innings from a starter, I’ll be happy.”
Dylan Rehmke went the full six innings in a 4-1 loss to North Delta Tuesday night. He took the loss after getting tagged for seven hits and three walks, allowing four earned runs.
Support from the Chiefs offence was lacking, as Fraser Valley batters managed just a pair of hits, both in the fifth inning when Mitch Dornblut doubled then scored on Jordan McComb’s single.
Ty Walker threw five innings in an 8-6 win over the Vancouver Cannons Thursday at Whalley Stadium, leaving the game with a 6-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning after striking out 11 batters.
Brody Hawkins and Rehmke each had a pair of hits with two runs scored to lead the offence.
The two teams were in New Westminster Saturday for two games at Queen’s Park Stadium, the first of which was a 5-3 win by the Chiefs.
Dale Mar – now starting at shortstop as opposed to third base as a replacement for the injured Ryan Pidhaichuk - keyed a four-run second inning with a three-run double, then scoring on a two-base hit by Hawkins.
“Ryan had a cut on his throwing hand, and was on the mend when he was reaching for something and the tendon popped,” said coach Hawkins. “So he’ll be out six to 10 weeks.
“But Dale stepped in a had a real good weekend for us. He clutched up.”
For the second consecutive game, Hawkins and Rehmke each had a pair of hits.
Caleb Lefebvre went the distance for the win, the three Vancouver runs coming on six hits and three walks.
Fraser Valley overcame a 5-0 deficit for a 10-9 win in game two. Eight of the nine Chiefs starters collected at least one hit, paced by Justin Pilgrim’s pair of singles.
The Chiefs received another outstanding pitching performance in the first game Sunday against White Rock, as Nathan de la Feraude threw a complete-game shutout in a 7-0 victory. De la Feraude struck out four batters while allowing just five hits and a pair of walks.
Jordan McComb led the offence with a pair of RBIs.
In game two, the Tritons scored early and often, taking a 5-0 lead after batting in the top of the fourth inning on their way to an 8-3 victory.
The Chiefs managed just six hits, three of which came from Brody Hawkins, with Declan Murphy collecting a pair.
The Chiefs will be idle from league play next weekend, but will be very busy at the 10-team Abbotsford Invitational Tournament at Delair Field. Fraser Valley will play once tomorrow (Thursday), twice Friday and one more Saturday, hoping to advance to the four-team playoff Sunday.
“Last weekend helped set us up for Abbotsford, particularly in our pitching,” said Hawkins. “If we throw balls and strikes, we’ll be fine.”