It took 45 days for the Whalley Chiefs to complete the first quarter of the B.C. Premier Baseball League (PBL) season.
It will take just a dozen days for the elite 18U team to complete the second quarter.
The Chiefs played their 11th game of the 44-game PBL season Sunday afternoon in Coquitlam. It was their fourth game of the weekend, which saw the Chiefs lose twice at home to one of the best teams in the league Saturday, then take two games from one of the weaker teams on the road Sunday.
Their record sits at 6-5 (win-loss), and leaves the Chiefs in sixth place in the BCPBL.
Playing above .500 over the next two weeks will be a challenge for Whalley. The heavy schedule will test the club’s pitching staff, which will likely expand while the club averages close to one game per day for the rest of the month.
“Our starters will have to go five innings,” said Chiefs head coach Ernie Hawkins. “And we have a couple of positional players who can give us a few innings. If each of those guys can do that once for us, we’ll be all right.”
Last weekend, the Chiefs fell 6-3 and 12-2 Saturday to the Victoria Mariners (8-3) at Whalley Stadium, then topped the 4-9 Coquitlam Reds 2-1 and 10-0 Sunday afternoon.
In the first game against the 8-3 Mariners, starting pitcher Alex DeLuca gave the Chiefs five strong innings before leaving with one out in the sixth inning and the Chiefs in front 3-1. Victoria would score four runs in the seventh inning for a come from behind victory. Whalley scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ataru Yamaguchi hit a bases-loaded double to score two runs, then a sacrifice fly from Nolan Weger allowed Quentin Hall to score from third.
In the second game, the Mariners led 5-0 after two innings and tacked on six more runs in the sixth to bring the game to an end on the 10-run mercy rule.
Yamaguchi led the Chiefs offensively, contributing two of Whalley’s five hits as well as a stolen base.
The Chiefs fared much better Sunday in Coquitlam. Starting pitcher Walt Eschner tossed a complete game to start the day, allowing one earned run on two singles and a home run. He walked just two batters while striking out four.
Jared Allemann scored the winning run on a passed ball in the top of the seventh inning. Whalley needed just five innings to put the Reds away in the second game. Yamaguchi pitched a complete game for the shutout win, striking out 11 batters while allowing just four singles and a walk.
The Chiefs rocked four Reds pitchers for 12 hits, six of which were doubles. Josh Marchese was three-for-three with three runs batted in. Jordan Yamaguchi, Will Chaba and Flynn Ridley had two hits each.
The Chiefs were scheduled to host the Langley Blaze last night (Tuesday) and tomorrow night at Whalley Stadium. The White Rock Tritons will be the visitors for two games Saturday, then the Chiefs are in North Delta Sunday for a double header with the Blue Jays.