The Cloverdale U18 Nationals showed why they sit atop the standings of the College Prep Division of BC Minor Baseball.
The Nationals bats stayed hot over a cool and rainy weekend that saw the Cloverdale team sweep the Trail U18 Orioles at Butler Park this weekend.
The Nationals beat the Orioles 5-1 in the opening match, then followed it up with a 11-2 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.
The scores, much like the weather, only got worse for Trail as Cloverdale shut out the Os 10-0 and 9-0 on Sunday.
“We didn’t hit or play defence very well,” said Orioles coach Jim Maniago. “I felt sorry for our pitchers, we just didn’t support them.
“It was that kind of weekend, we’d hit balls hard at them and they hit flares that fell in everywhere.”
With the wins, Cloverdale’s record improves to 16-2-1, while Trail falls to sixth place in the 11-team league with a record of eight wins and 10 losses. With 33 points, the Nationals sit comfortably in first place, 11 points ahead of second place Chilliwack Cougars.
“They are a good team and took advantage when we made mistakes,” said Maniago. “It was a good learning experience fpr us.”
The U18 Orioles are back on the road with a four-game series versus a tough Ridge Meadows Royals team this weekend.
The Royals are currently in fourth place at 9-5-0, and have a couple impressive wins under their belt. Ridge Meadows beat the Nationals 3-1 on April 23 before falling 1-0 to them in the rematch. The Royals are also coming off a split with Kelowna COMBA Sun Devils on Saturday, falling 3-1 in the first match before rolling to a 9-5 win in the second half of the doubleheader.
The Orioles and Royals play a doubleheader on Saturday, May 21 at 4 and 6:30 p.m. at Hammond Stadium and another double-bill Sunday, May 22 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Maniago is staying positive despite the losses, realizing there are a lot of games left to play.
“We were in this situation last year, and then things turned and all of a sudden as a group we started having balls hit the gaps and we scored runs in bunches and the wins added up.”
The Trail U18 Orioles return to Butler Park on May 29 for a doubleheader against the Penticton Tigers at noon and 2:30 p.m.
Note: Thanks to Cloverdale Nationals Team Manager Dave Palmer for the great photos. To see more of Dave’s work visit his Instagram page @davepalmerphotography.