VIBI steps up to plate for opener

The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners host opening day this Saturday (March 29) against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.

Baseball fans can expect hear the crack of the bat quite often this weekend.

The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners host opening day this Saturday (March 29) to start a four-game series against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.

TRU won two against VIBI last weekend in Kamloops to begin the Canadian College Baseball Conference season, but Nanaimo’s college ball team out-hit the Pack and could have hoped for different outcomes.

“We played well,” said Tyler Armstrong, Mariners catcher. “We just had to capitalize on a few more situations … we just couldn’t really score the guys that we needed to score at the right time.”

Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager, said his team looked solid especially in the first game of the season, a 4-3 loss to Thompson Rivers.

“Obviously whenever you lose a game you feel like you could have done something a little bit different,” the manager said. “There was a couple of spots against some guys in their bullpen that we didn’t take advantage of.”

Jordan Blundell said his players need to let the game come to them, rather than try to force things.

“Hopefully our guys don’t put too much pressure on themselves,” the manager said. “I think that’s when we’re not successful is when we’re trying too hard to be the man, or hit this pitch or get a hit here. That’s not how you play baseball. Baseball’s an every-day game and you’ve got to try and keep that same mindset through the good and the bad.”

Still, there will be a bit of a different feel Saturday (March 29) and Sunday for home-opening weekend. Guys are looking forward to it, Armstrong said, and trying to spread the word to fans. VIBI alumni Adam Paulencu and Cody Phipps have been invited to throw the opening pitch Saturday and Sunday will be Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association day at the ballpark.

“I could not be more excited about what we have planned at Serauxmen Stadium this season,” said Jonathan Hodgson, VIBI’s communications director, in a press release. “We feel we have stepped up our game with the game day presentation at the ballpark creating an environment fans will want to be a part of.”

GAME ON … Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. and Sunday’s action begins at 11 a.m. Admission is $2 and the ball club will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the food bank all season long.