Nanaimo Pirates start season with away games

NANAIMO – The first pitch of the Nanaimo Pirates' 2015 B.C. Premier Baseball League season is set to be thrown this weekend.

The first pitch of the Nanaimo Pirates’ 2015 B.C. Premier Baseball League season is set to be thrown this weekend.

The senior Pirates begin with a set of doubleheaders on the road this weekend, opening against the Victoria Eagles on Saturday (April 11), followed by two against the Langley Blaze Sunday.

Doug Rogers, head coach and general manager, said he hasn’t decided his starting pitchers for the games, but Garrett Goodall, North Rainey, Sam Baker, Robert Busch and Bryce Berg-Stromquist, could take the mound.

Rogers has been impressed with his team’s exhibition play.

“We have a different team this year than we’ve had in the past. We’ve always been pitching and defence heavy … our sticks are probably our better portion this year, right through the lineup, one through nine. Guys can swing it and swing for power. We should generate a lot of runs this year.

“It’s now a matter of keeping those runs down with the opposition and we should do quite well this year I think,” said Rogers.

Rogers pointed to utility man Shawn Arabsky as a player that had a good spring. The coach said Arabsky spent a lot of the offseason in the gym and it is bearing fruit.

“The ball he hits now are now carrying into the gaps. He was probably hitting around .600, .700 over the course of the spring, with power,” said Rogers.

Outfielder Zack Diewert and catcher Cole Warken will be others the Pirates will rely on this season.

A young Pirates squad lost to Langley in the first round of the playoffs last season and Rogers is hoping his players have learned from that.

“We’re definitely looking to build on that this year. Our goal is the final four and to win it,” Rogers said.

GAME ON … The Pirates’ home opener is April 19, when the Abbotsford Cardinals visit Serauxmen Stadium for games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.