The Whalley Chiefs opened the BC Premier Baseball League season with one win in four tries on the road against the Okanagan Athletics last weekend in Kelowna.
On Saturday, the A’s won both games of the opening day doubleheader in convincing fashion – 12-2 and 13-3 – but Whalley bounced back Sunday, winning 11-8 in the first game of the day, before dropping the last game of the four-game set 5-3.
The first tilt Saturday lasted just five innings, as the home team jumped on the visiting Chiefs early, scoring three runs in the first inning. The Athletics tacked on another run in the second to take a 4-0 lead, and they effectively put the game out of reach by the third frame, scoring seven to extend the lead to 11-0.
Whalley’s only runs game in the top of the fifth, when a Lichel Hirakawa-Kao triple scored Braeden Massignani, followed by a sacrifice fly from Zach Chaba that scored Hirakawa-Kao.
The second game of the day was also short, lasting five innings after the mercy-rule was invoked.
Infielder Lucus Soper and left-fielder Lachlan Hunter knocked in the only runs for Whalley – both coming in the first inning – and Matt Legg rounded out the scoring when he scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.
Sunday went much better for the Chiefs, with the visitors edging the A’s 11-8 in an mistake-filled game that saw the two teams combine for eight defensive errors.
Hirakawa-Kao, batting in the leadoff spot, paced the Chiefs’ attack, going 2-for-5 with three runs scored and two runs-batted-in. Soper also had a good game at the plate, with two hits, a walk and three RBI.
First baseman Brenden Gerbert and Legg had two and one RBI, respectively.
Walter Eschner earned the win on the mound for Whalley, striking out five over five innings, while allowing just four hits and two runs.
The final game of the weekend was the lowest-scoring of the bunch, with the two teams combining for just eight runs.
The Athletics scored single runs in the first and second innings, and led 2-1 after two, and then tacked one single runs in each of the last three innings. Whalley, meanwhile, scored once in the second and twice again in the bottom of the seventh, but it was not enough to send the game into extra innings.
Hirakawa-Kao, Legg and James Harvey each had two hits, while Soper and Hunter each hit triples.
The Chiefs are back on the field Tuesday in Whalley for an evening game against the Abbotsford Cardinals.
On Saturday, Whalley will head to North Delta’s Mackie Park for two games against the North Delta Blue Jays.