VIBI Mariners infielder Cole Waldie fields a grounder to third base during a practice drill Tuesday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium. Vancouver Island Baseball Institute plays its first home games Saturday (March 14) or Sunday.

VIBI Mariners infielder Cole Waldie fields a grounder to third base during a practice drill Tuesday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium. Vancouver Island Baseball Institute plays its first home games Saturday (March 14) or Sunday.

Spring has sprung for college ball team

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute is getting ready to play its first home games of 2014 this weekend.

The VIBI Mariners have already gotten in a boatload of games as they sail through spring training.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute is getting ready to play its first home games of 2014 this weekend as Washington’s Shoreline College will be coming to Nanaimo.

VIBI spent the last week of February in the States, playing exhibition games in California and Arizona and winning five out of 14 games on the trip.

“I like where we’re at,” said Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager. “Record-wise we could be better than we are, but we’ve also seen a lot of good things from everyone. Young guys, returning guys, seniors, freshmen – everybody’s done something … that helped us as a group on and off the field.”

It was a challenging schedule, with six games in three days in California, a day off, six games in three days in Arizona, and then two more the next day back in Cali.

“The guys battled, man,” Blundell said. “They’re typical Canadian lads here. Let’s get in the van, let’s go to the yard, let’s do it all over again.”

Playing so many innings is important at this stage of the season when there is so much, still, to work on.

“A lot of guys, when we were down south, got a lot of playing time,” said Gobind Sall, VIBI third baseman. “A lot of freshmen, so we got to see a lot of what we’ve got coming, too.”

In spring training, there are guys making adjustments to a new team and a new level of ball, and often a new position. Blundell said a player might be a shortstop or a catcher, for example, all through his high school career, and have to now make a switch.

“When you get to college, things change a little bit,” the manager said. “There’s guys that are older than you and if that’s the only place you can play and there’s a guy that’s better than you there, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Getting guys innings in different positions also gives VIBI more versatility and depth.

“When you get going in the season, if somebody gets hurt or this happens or that happens, there’s always an unexpected player playing somewhere at the end of the year that you didn’t plan on,” Blundell said.

GAME ON … Saturday’s doubleheaders against Shoreline are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., with Sunday’s games at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium. With rain forecasted for Saturday, though, the teams might try to play three games, all on Sunday. Please visit www.ballcharts.com/vibaseball.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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