The Penticton Tigers will be looking to ride some momentum as they embark on the last eight games of the B.C. 18-and-under AAA Baseball League and push for a playoff spot.
The surprising Tigers went 3-3 and won the silver medal at the BC Baseball Tier 2 Western Canadian Qualifier Tournament this past weekend in South Fraser Valley. There were five teams from their own 18U league and two from the Junior PBL.
Penticton came in ranked seventh out of the seven teams by BC Baseball but rode some strong pitching and defence to finish 2-2 in the round-robin segment, good enough for third place.
In the semifinal, the Tigers surged to an early 8-1 lead over the PBL-leading Coquitlam RedLegs and hung on for an 8-7 victory to earn a berth in the final. The Tigers got the walk-off win when Marlo Spence threw out the potential tying run from left field with two out in the last inning.
Unfortunately, the magic ended in the final as the Tigers lost 5-1 to the North Delta Blue Jays of the Junior PBL.
The Tigers (16-14) return to league play this weekend, sitting seventh in the 14-team league with only the top eight qualifying for the league playoffs/provincials in Victoria starting Aug. 8.
The Tigers have two games back in South Fraser against the Giants this weekend followed by a huge four-game homestand next weekend (July 20-21) against the Richmond Chuckers and Vernon Canadians. The doubleheaders at Carmi Field will be at noon and 2:30 p.m. each day.
The regular season wraps up with two games on July 28 in Kelowna against the rival Sun Devils.
The Tigers are positioned well to make the playoffs, though several teams behind them have games in hand.
Head coach Aqil Samuel said the coaching staff is excited to see the team peaking and gelling at the right time of the year.
“Pitching and defence have always been the focus and will hopefully carry us to the goals that we set at the beginning of the year,” said Samuel. “The offence has shown signs of life and looks to be heating up with the weather.”
1 North Fraser Nationals 26-3
2 Cowichan Valley Mustangs 20-4
3 South Island Mariners 22-8
4 North Island Cubs 14-8
5 South Fraser Giants 18-12
6 Ridge Meadows Royals 15-11
7 Penticton Tigers 16-14
8 Cloverdale Spurs 16-15
9 Victoria 9-13
10 Vernon Canadians 9-19
11 Richmond Chuckers 10-21
12 North Shore Twins 8-20
13 Kelowna Sun Devils 8-22
14 Chilliwack Cougars 2-24