An inability to capitalize in key situations hurt the South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association Tigers over the weekend.
The midget AAA Tigers lost to Cloverdale 8-2 and 10-2, then 6-1 and 17-2 at the hands of Vancouver. Both Lower Mainland teams are now 11-1-0 and 7-1-0 respectively.
“For the most part we played well,” said Tigers coach Junior Deleon. “We just weren’t able to capitalize with guys in scoring position.”
It was a momentum killer for the Tigers, who were happy with their pitching.
“Vancouver came in and they could hit the ball,” said Deleon. “It kind of accumulated.”
In the second game against Cloverdale, the third inning hurt the Tigers and pitcher Taylor Kanke, who gave up a grand slam to Mathew Reston. The Cloverdale batter lined a shot over the centre field fence. Bright spots for the Tigers were Kanke, Donovan Abbott, who hit a home run, Ryan Konno and Brett Fleming, according to Deleon.
“There is a lot of upside to him,” said Deleon of Kanke. “He threw quite well. Ryan Konno had an excellent weekend on the mound. He threw 92 pitches, 22 balls. He kept us in the baseball game. Brett Fleming, who is coming off an injury, made solid contact. A couple of base hits where he found himself on second base and we weren’t able to score him.”
In the final game against Vancouver, the Tigers were tagged for seven runs in the opening inning and another seven in the seventh.
Fleming, a pitcher/short stop for the Tigers, said the weekend was a stepping stone.
“We definitely have to learn how to hit the ball throughout the whole lineup,” he said. “Defence is pretty solid. Just hitting right now is lacking a little bit.”
Fleming emphasized the need to step to the plate with a plan.
The Tigers coach wants to see his players improve on missed opportunities and rebound after a mental mistake.
“In the first game against Cloverdale, we had them 2-0 until the fifth,” said Deleon. “We had two crucial errors that did us in. Momentum kind of drained out of the sails.”
The Tigers, with one win in 10 games, host Tri City and Richmond at McNicoll Park on Saturday (noon and 1:30 p.m.) and Sunday (starting at 11 a.m.) Deleon said Tri City is an older, quality team. He said they possess the ability to shut teams down with their pitching.
“If we go up there with good plate approaches, we will be able to stay in the game,” he said.
In their 10 games, the Tigers have scored 32 runs and allowed 74. The Tigers have allowed 10 or more runs this season three times.