The Nanaimo Pirates will take their first crack at baseball season.
The city’s B.C. Premier Baseball League team gets its schedule started with doubleheaders on the road at Parksville on Saturday (April 16) and in Whalley on Sunday.
The Pirates are a mix of some veterans who reached the provincial final a year ago, and newcomers who were unknown to the program at tryouts this winter.
“I’m quite impressed with the way the guys have gone through the spring here…” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “They’re starting to buy into the system, they’re getting their work done on the field and they’re making improvements.”
Last year’s Pirates team led the premier league in most offensive categories, but this year there will be more onus on producing runs, Rogers said.
“We’ll get back, with this team, to doing the little things that win ball games, like hit and run, the stealing bases, bunting, bunting for base hits, all those things…” he said. “You’re swinging the bat for the team and doing the right thing for the team to move a guy 90 feet.”
As far as competition goes, first up are the neighbouring Royals.
“By no means are we going in there expecting to win two; we’re going to have to play,” Rogers said.
The Pirates won’t hold anything back for Sunday, and will set up their pitching rotation to give themselves the best chance to win on Saturday.
If they aren’t going to start the premier league schedule at home, then Parksville’s Springwood Park is the next best place.
“We always get a good battery of fans that go up there … it’s almost like another home game for them,” the manager said. “So it’ll be fun to start the season in Parksville.”
GAME ON … The Pirates and Royals play at noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Springwood Park. Nanaimo’s home opener is April 24.