Two days after sweeping the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s last-place team, the Whalley Chiefs went winless in two games against the second-place squad in the elite 18-and-under circuit.
The Chiefs were at the South Surrey Athletic Park Friday night, taking two games from the White Rock Tritons by scores of 9-1 and 5-4. Sunday at home against the Victoria Mariners, Whalley went winless in 7-1 and 5-2 decisions.
Just past the midway mark on their regular season schedule, the Chiefs are 10-13 (won-lost) and in seventh place in the 12-team league.
Against the struggling Tritons (3-18), Whalley crossed the plate seven times in the second inning on their way to the win in the first game. Zach Chaba and Lichel Hirakawa-Kao had a pair of hits each to lead the Chiefs offense, with Thomas Espig driving in a pair of runs with a double.
Lucas Soper was the winning pitcher, throwing a four-hitter over six innings. He had three strikeouts, and walked just two batters.
The Chiefs had 15 hits off White Rock pitchers in the second game, but left 12 runners on base and had to hang on for a one-run victory.
Braeden Massignani was a perfect four-for-four at the plate, while Soper had three hits including a double.
Espig was the winning pitcher, and also contributed at the plate with a two-run home run. Hirakawa-Kao with a pair of doubles, and Ken Dubois with two singles each had two hits.
Espig pitched all seven innings, with two of the four runs allowed being unearned. He surrendered eight hits and two walks while striking out 11 Tritons batters.
Sunday against the Eagles, Whalley gave up three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth in the first-game loss. The Chiefs managed just three hits, including a double from Espig.
In the second game, Whalley batters totalled nine hits, including two each from Hirakawa-Kao and Dubois.
Trailing 1-0 midway through the sixth inning, the Chiefs took the lead with their only two runs of the game. Matt Legg doubled to score Hirakawa-Kao, then Soper scored when Ryan Kaplanis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Whalley couldn’t hang on, as Victoria scored four times on four hits in the top of the seventh inning.
Starting pitcher Kyle Stubbins threw five strong innings for the Chiefs, limiting the Eagles to just one hit and a walk while striking out a pair of batters. With an earned run average of just .70, Stubbins is ranked second in the league, trailing only the .59 average of Daniel Gosselin of the North Delta Blue Jays.
The Chiefs are on a 13-day break from league play, and will play two games on Saturday, May 30 at home against the Parksville Royals.