It was simply too hot to play baseball this past weekend, but aside from that, the Mid-Island Pirates will be happy to take on whatever the summer brings.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Premier Baseball League team got back on the field this month to begin an abbreviated 24-game regular season.
Co-general manager Brandon Dornan said it was a long wait for game play, as COVID-19 health and safety restrictions meant that even at practice, there was no live pitching or hitting, let alone scrimmages.
“With the rules that we had to operate under, it was very limited in what we could do…” he said. “These guys have literally been doing skills and drills for the last year and a half. It’s been a tough grind for them, but everybody’s fired up now.”
The Pirates are starting the season with a lengthy series against the Parksville Royals and were 1-3 heading into this past weekend, which saw a planned doubleheader postponed due to heat.
Dornan said he’s happy but not overly happy with early results this season.
“There’s still lots of work for us to do,” he said. “I would have liked for us to have a little more time to get game-shape ready, but we’re in no different bucket than everybody else.”
Some veterans have stuck around the program because their U.S. scholarship opportunities were delayed a year, but there are also some younger players who are now making a jump to a level of ball they haven’t yet experienced.
“This is the first time we’ve seen them in game play and it’s the first time they’ve had this level of game play,” Dornan said. “So we’re kind of learning about some of our players that we haven’t had the ability to watch in game settings in the past, and kind of going back to the drawing board on a few guys, working on different things.”
The premier Pirates and all other BCPBL teams will qualify for a championship tournament, to be held on the Lower Mainland from July 30-Aug. 1.
The Mid-Island Pirates also have junior and bantam teams, both of which are playing 36-game schedules this summer.