VIBI hones game to try for first win

After getting swept to start the season, Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (0-4) will be looking for a turnaround.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners batter Ty Armstrong swings at a pitch during an exhibition game against the Sherwood Park Athletics on Monday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium. The M’s won 5-4.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners batter Ty Armstrong swings at a pitch during an exhibition game against the Sherwood Park Athletics on Monday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium. The M’s won 5-4.

Some things went well on opening weekend for the VIBI Mariners, except, unfortunately, in the win column.

After getting swept to start the Canadian College Baseball Conference season, Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (0-4) will be looking for a turnaround in the standings.

The M’s have kept busy, playing an exhibition doubleheader Monday and scheduling another for today (March 28).

There are some specifics that VIBI wants to work on after last weekend’s losses to the defending-champion Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs.

Manager Jordan Blundell said he wants his pitchers to try to make sure they throw first-pitch strikes when there are men on base.

“If we give up a bag …we want to jump ahead on the next guy … forcing them to put the ball in play,” he said. “Forcing them to beat us with the bats and not get into counts where they can sit on a pitch and take a big rip.”

His staff didn’t get a lot of opportunities to pitch with a lead last weekend, but when they do, he said, they can take advantage knowing that the other team might be a bit more free-swinging.

At the plate, Blundell said guys need to learn that every at-bat is precious and they can’t throw any away.

Specifically, he said hitters could shorten up on some of their swings.

“Instead of fouling that pitch off, maybe by being a little bit shorter we’re going to be able to square it up and hit it somewhere productive,” he said.

Darren Kolk, VIBI outfielder, said the M’s need to generate runs with small ball but at the same time take advantage when they have opportunities to score two or three runs in an inning.

“We did have really good at-bats [last weekend] but then we had bat at-bats there where we didn’t put things together,” he said. “We need to be stronger from one to nine, up and down the lineup instead of a hit here and a hit there.”

BASE LINES … The Mariners swept their exhibition games Monday against the Sherwood Park Athletics, winning by scores of 11-2 and 5-4. The M’s scored nine runs in the first inning of the first game and then eased off against the touring midget AAA club … VIBI  hosts the University of Calgary Dinos this Saturday (March 30) and Sunday at Serauxmen Stadium. Saturday’s games are at noon and 2:30 p.m., while Sunday’s games are at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Admission is free.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com