Coal Miners step in batter’s box

Nanaimo Coal Miners player Ben Cairns awaits a pitch last season at Serauxmen Stadium. The Miners hold their season openers at the stadium this Sunday (May 22).

Nanaimo Coal Miners player Ben Cairns awaits a pitch last season at Serauxmen Stadium. The Miners hold their season openers at the stadium this Sunday (May 22).

The Nanaimo Coal Miners were a home run-happy bunch last season, and they’ll be swinging for the fences again this summer.

The city’s senior men’s baseball team holds its Pacific International League season openers this Sunday (May 22) at Serauxmen Stadium against the Burnaby Bulldogs.

Last year the Coal Miners were provincial runners-up, and they’ve bolstered their lineup for 2011.

“The numbers seem to be better,” said Dale Ballance, player-manager. “I think we look pretty good. We look to have a strong team.”

Last Saturday the Miners played a pair of exhibition games down the Malahat, defeating the Victoria Athletics 5-1 and then getting past the Victoria Cardinals 10-7. Joey Benda was the winning pitcher in the first game, with Mike Jones picking up two RBI and Ballance and Ben Cairns collecting two hits apiece.

The next game it was Grant Vickers leading the offence with three hits and Bill Hadden earning the win on the mound.

GAME ON … Sunday’s games against the Burnaby Bulldogs are at noon and 2:30 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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