If the Pirates are feeling the pressure of a pennant race, it sure doesn’t look like it.
Nanaimo’s Hub City Paving Pirates (24-6) took their longest road trip of the season last weekend, all the way to Kelowna, and proceeded to win three out of four games against an Okanagan Athletics team that was ahead of them in the standings.
And yet another premier league opponent discovered that the Pirates will not only win the ball game, but they’ll do so with smiles on their faces.
“They have so much fun together you wonder if they’re just out here on vacation sometimes and just playing stickball,” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “Sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. They go out there in a stickball frame of mind and usually they play their best baseball in those situations.”
The Athletics were a solid team at all positions, but the Pirates were undaunted. They’ll need a similar mindset this coming weekend when they play a doubleheader Sunday (June 24) on the road against the Victoria Mariners (16-7).
Since the teams split a doubleader on opening day of the season, this weekend’s games will settle the season series. There’s also the pennant race to think about – the Pirates are just half a game back of the league-leading Langley Blaze (25-6).
“We need to take care of the games we can take care of,” said Rogers.
The Mariners, meanwhile, are fourth in the league and have played the fewest number of games.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re in first and they’re in last or vice versa, it’s always tough against them for some reason,” said Rogers.
GAME ON … Sunday’s games are slated for noon and 2:30 p.m. at Victoria’s Leyritz Park.