Sports

Pirates primed for first ball games

Nanaimo Pirates infielder Shawn Arabsky fields a grounder and throws to first during practice Tuesday at Serauxmen Stadium. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Nanaimo Pirates infielder Shawn Arabsky fields a grounder and throws to first during practice Tuesday at Serauxmen Stadium.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Nanaimo Pirates need to be dialed in as they step to the plate for another B.C. Premier Baseball League campaign. The league is competitive, teams are capable, and the season won’t wait.

“The last thing you want to be doing is battling for that eighth spot to get into the playoffs,” said Luke Skingle, Pirates pitcher. “You want to get your wins early.”

The Hub City Paving Pirates have high hopes as they begin the 2014 season on the road Sunday (April 13) versus the Victoria Mariners.

The Pirates held spring training in Cuba, where they bonded over baseball and got inspired for the pre-season and now the regular season.

“We’re prepared,” Skingle said. “We’re coming together as a team now and the young guys are getting some games in. They know what it’s like at the premier level now.”

Tristan Olsen, Pirates third baseman, said the team feels like it can put out a nine-man roster that should stack up against any others in the PBL.

“Our lineup can compete out there, and even the guys [coming off the bench] into spots will be able to compete,” he said.

The Pirates’ pitching staff is youthful aside from its ace, Skingle, and so the Pirates hitters will be determined to produce and assume some of the pressure.

“They say pitching and defence wins, but run support always helps,” Olsen said. “Our hitting is coming. Obviously there’s little kinks to work out … We’ll be prepared with our approaches and work to better them.”

At this time of year it’s difficult to gauge the competition around the league, but the Mariners are always strong. The Pirates play last year’s champs, the Victoria Eagles, the following weekend and visit the powerhouse Langley Blaze the first weekend in May.

“We don’t want to overlook any of our opponents,” said Olsen. “Just get off to a good start on the road early and just kind of set the tone.”

GAME ON … The Pirates will play their home opener April 19 against the Eagles.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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