The Mid Island Pirates finally got a chance to play ball as the B.C. Premier Baseball League season is now underway.
It’s been a long time since baseball was back to normal, but opening day happened Saturday, April 9, at Serauxmen Stadium, with the Pirates falling to the Victoria Eagles by 12-2 and 4-2 scores.
Nanaimo had chances in both games. The first game was 0-0 for the first three innings before Victoria started to build a lead, and then in the second game, the Pirates had had several baserunners in the late innings.
“We’re fully prepared to make some mistakes early on,” said Larson Bauck, Pirates manager. “It’s not that we’re going to accept it, but at the same time, it’s going to be a process of maturation.”
The Pirates are a Grade 11-heavy club, so there’s a lot of youth in the lineup, with limited experience due to pandemic times. Bauck said as a manager, he’s got to expect that players aren’t necessarily used to the “compete level” that will be required to win games in the premier league.
“You take away the competitive nature that the kids haven’t had for a couple of years,” he said. “In a season you’re trying to make the playoffs and win a championship and when you don’t have that and you’re playing exhibition, it’s a different feeling.”
Bauck said the Pirates aren’t going to be a team that will put up six, seven or eight runs most games, so pitching and defence will of course be important, but also the little things like grinding out at-bats and putting the ball in play. As young players make the adjustment to the premier league, they might find that they aren’t necessarily power hitters anymore and will need to improve at hitting to all fields and hitting all different types of pitches.
Bauck said it’s up to him and the coaching staff to ensure the players have the desire and determination to learn and get better.
“There’s a fine line between being too hard on them and not being hard enough,” he said. “The art of coaching is finding that sweet spot where you can push them to make them better but at the same time, not push them enough where they shut you out.”
GAME ON … The Pirates are home again this coming Saturday, April 16, to host a doubleheaders against the Whalley Chiefs at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Serauxmen Stadium.