Ryohei Ito feels the fielding needs improving for the SOMBA Tigers.
“We have pitchers but I think if the defence is not good, they can’t help the pitcher,” said Ito, one of the Tigers pitchers. “We need more practice.”
Coach Junior Deleo summed it up best as his team hosts the Kamloops RiverDogs in a home-and-home battle this weekend.
“We beat ourselves,” said Deleon, who would like to see his team win at least two of the four games. “I think that’s the way its going to be throughout the year.”
Deleon knows errors are going to happen but added that “is what killed us in Cloverdale” where they lost 6-2 then bounced back to win 11-10.
Mental preparation is key and most of Deleon’s players don’t have that experience. That is where the veterans come in to play, especially Nolan Benedetti, who returned from Kelowna and is passing on what he learned with the Athletics. Deleon talked again about the luxury of having depth and how that lacks this year, but looked at the positive. They have players who work hard and are dedicated.
“If we limit our errors, we will be in ball games,” said Deleon, who had his players in the batting cages for part of Wednesday’s practice at McNicoll Park. “Our pitching is going to get us by 90 per cent of the time.”
And Ito has been key early.
“Ito’s probably been I would say one of the top pitchers in the league, not just our team,” he said. “He is a work horse.”
Cole Depner, a catcher and infielder for the Tigers, is excited to see what Ito can do.
“He’s got great stuff,” said Depner. “Every pitch is really good.”
Depner said facing Kamloops (2-0 on season) is a good test for them. Because both teams had good battles last year, Depner wants to see what kind of team the RiverDogs will have and what the Tigers can do against them.
Ito is aware Kamloops has strong batters and feels this weekend will be good for the Tigers to get experience.
Both games the Tigers host are at McNicoll Park Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m.