Errors prove costly to Chiefs
Averaging six runs and nearly 10 hits a game, the Whalley Chiefs had the offense to fare better against the Okanagan Athletics.
The Chiefs outhit the visitors from Kelowna in each of the four games played last weekend at Whalley Stadium, but lost three times.
Whalley saw their B.C. Premier Baseball League record fall to 5-13 (won-lost), and slipped three games away from eight place and the final playoff position. The Athletics improved to 9-9, and are in sixth position in the 13-team under-18 elite league.
“Hitting is our strength and continues to improve,” said Chiefs general manager Paul Hargreaves. “Scoring runs hasn’t been the problem. It’s been looking after the baseball and making three outs an inning.”
While outhitting and outscoring the Athletics, the Chiefs committed 13 errors in the four games, leading to nine unearned runs.
Okanagan swept both games Saturday, starting the day with a 6-4 extra-inning victory in the opener.
The Chiefs trailed 4-2 when they came to bat in the bottom of the seventh-inning, but pulled even when Max Williams singled to score Thomas Espig and Travis Leclair. Lucas Soper moved to third base on the hit and was 90 feet away from scoring the winning run, but was stranded.
A two-run triple in the eighth inning provided the Athletics with the two-run margin of victory.
Jacob Robazza and Braeden Massignani, called up from the Junior Chiefs, each had a pair of hits to lead the Whalley offense.
Okanagan won their second game with a 9-6 triumph, breaking a 4-4 tie with a five-run sixth inning. Robazza, Colton Wright and Max Williams each had a pair of hits for Whalley, with Williams driving in three runs.
The Chiefs got their lone win of the weekend Sunday morning, blanking Okanagan 9-0. Leclair and Wright led the attack, each with two singles and a double. Wright also drove in three runs.
Williams threw a seven-hit shutout for the win, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out four batters.
Hoping for a second victory Sunday and a split of the weekend series, the Chiefs could not hold on to a two-run lead and fell 6-5. Whalley led 2-0 when Okanagan scored four times in the third inning. The Chiefs trailed 5-2 before tying the game in the top of the sixth inning, only to surrender a game-winning run in the bottom half of t he inning.
“There are too many mental errors, not physical errors, but mental mistakes,” said Hargreaves. “The boys need to realize what starts big innings and minimize mental mistakes. Its a learning curve for sure.”
Cole Hunt with a pair of doubles, and Will Gladwell, Soper and Wright with two singles each accounted for eight Whalley hits.
The Chiefs are on an 11-day break from league play, and will resume their schedule next Thursday (May 29) against the 10-11 White Rock Tritons.