The Whalley Chiefs couldn’t have asked for a better start to their BC Premier Baseball League season.
The Chiefs were on the road for two games Saturday at Delair Park, where they swept the Abbotsford Cardinals 9-0 and 7-0 in a double header.
All aspects of the game were working well for Whalley. Their pitchers didn’t give up a run while limiting the Cardinals to just 10 hits, all singles.
Chiefs batters collected 16 hits, including six for extra bases, and the defense committed just one error over the 14 innings.
“Our guys have worked extremely hard during the winter and they expect to be successful with each plate appearance,” said Chiefs head coach Ernie Hawkins of the offensive production. “Was I surprised? Not at all, I like our group. We want them to be aggressive and they were Saturday.”
Thomas Espig had a huge game at the plate in the first game with three hits, one RBI (run batted in) and one run scored. Stephen Horner collected two hits, including a double, while Nolan Weger cracked a two-run home run in the fifth inning.
Brendan Fee allowed seven hits, did not give up a walk and struck out six Cardinals batters.
The Chiefs scored twice win the second inning and upped the difference to 3-0 after four. They scored four more runs in the fifth and added two more in the sixth.
Whalley jumped on the Cardinals early in the second game, scoring twice in the first inning then adding another in the second.
Espig, Brenden Yip and Owen Napieralski had two hits each for Whalley, with Horner scoring two runs. Yip’s two hits were both doubles.
Alex Deluca went the distance for the win on the mound, allowing just two singles and three walks while striking out five batters.
“Both guys threw really well, they pounded the zone all day,” said Hawkins of the performances of two Chiefs’ pitchers Saturday. “Alex and Brendan are very similar, spotting up their fast balls and the had control of their off speeds, keeping Abbotsford off balance. They’ve been our best during the preseason and deserved the opening day starts.”
The Chiefs were scheduled to play at home twice during the week. Tuesday’s game against the North Delta Blue Jays was rained out, and Thursday’s game against the Cardinals was after The Leader’s press deadline.
Whalley will host the Nanaimo Pirates for two games Sunday at Whalley Stadium. The first game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.