Sports

Pirates adjusting to game pace

Nanaimo Pirates third baseman Tristan Olsen fields a grounder during practice earlier this month at Serauxmen Stadium. The B.C. Premier Baseball League team holds its home opener Saturday (April 19). - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Nanaimo Pirates third baseman Tristan Olsen fields a grounder during practice earlier this month at Serauxmen Stadium. The B.C. Premier Baseball League team holds its home opener Saturday (April 19).
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

There’s something special about opening day at the ballpark.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates and their fans are hoping that will be the case again this Saturday (April 19), as the team hosts its first action of the spring with a doubleheader against the Victoria Eagles at Serauxmen Stadium.

“We’ve had some really good home openers in the past and had some exciting times at Serauxmen,” said Keith Radix, Pirates assistant coach.

The Pirates have been thinking about these matchups with the Eagles for a long time. The two teams met in the BCPBL final last summer, and Nanaimo was one inning away from victory before Vic managed to snatch the championship.

“You never forget the ones that hurt,” said Radix, and although the Pirates have a host of new players in 2014, there are some veterans who will be psyched to play on Saturday. He said the Pirates will look to their veterans to lead the way in those sorts of games.

“Learn from losing and learn how to use it to motivate you to win,” said the assistant coach.

It might be useful to look back, but at this time of year it’s even more important for the Pirates to look forward. After dropping their first two games of the season on Sunday against the Victoria Mariners, the Pirates recognize there are areas in which they need to be better.

“Baseball’s a game where you’re continually looking to improve,” said Radix. “It gave us a good chance to get a couple of games under our belt and have a look at what we have to bring to the table and make the adjustments to keep moving forward, keep getting better.”

The Pirates have seven or eight newcomers who may need some time to find their way around the league.

“They’re learning our system, they’re learning the way that we play. It’s different than junior,” Radix said. “It’s going to be an adjustment period for some of them. Some of them haven’t been in these kinds of situations under this kind of pressure before.”

They’ll get used to big games in a hurry – first came the season openers, now the home openers, and there are other highly anticipated matchups on the schedule, too. Pirates third baseman Tristan Olsen said the team has set a goal of coming out of the first few weekends above .500 and in good shape in the standings.

This Saturday, the home opener, is the perfect time to start working toward that goal.

“It makes it a little bit more of a valued game because you’re fighting [in] your home opener to play well and also you have a big-time rival that’s there,” said Radix. “It should make for a pretty good buzz to go around the ballpark.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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