Chilliwack/Kamloops – Fraser Valley split its mid-week double header with the TRU Wolfpack on Wednesday taking the first game 4-3 and dropping the night contest 6-3. After 6 games in the fall exhibition schedule, FV’s record is now 3 wins, 2 losses and a tie.
It’s September 23rd, so technically autumn, but the sun, and the sounds of summer make this first ever road trip for the Fraser Valley Collegiate Baseball club to Norbrock Stadium in Kamloops seem like a summer holiday.
The boys from the valley have enjoyed a surprising start. After all, it’s historic, so youth, nerves or just plain good manners could all be good excuses for getting off to a slow start. That obviously wasn’t on the players’ minds when last years championship runners up, the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners, showed up at Fairfield only to be ushered out with two losses at the hands of the new kids on the block. A few days later, a close loss against TRU’s top lineup and a tie against a slightly watered down version of the TRU Wolfpack had the team believing that it could be a legitimate contender in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference.
FVCB got its CCBC franchise on the 7th of May 2015 on the condition that it play its first autumn and championship seasons on probation. That means all the teams games for the first year (until the end of May 2016) will be exhibition tilts. For a team of virtually all freshmen to enter the league under these conditions and show that they mean business bodes well for quickly getting to the league championship once the team . If the team is able to arrange it so that the young players don’t lose a year of eligibility for playing a full exhibition season, the core of this team should be around for a while.
Having a young talented team does not mean that Coach Shawn Corness isn’t out looking for ways to improve the team already. A trip to T12 in Toronto, and follow up visits to the big Ontario ball academies should put pressure on everyone in the organization to continue to get better, knowing that the coach is out recruiting–looking to assemble a perennial winner.
For this summer-like fall day in Kamloops though, this first edition of the FVCB club enjoyed its first bus trip together, its first batting practice at someone elses park and its first experience at having roadies! Yes Roadies.
Just because it’s the teams first trip to Kamloops doesn’t mean that it’s the players first time playing at Norbrock in Kamloops. In fact between Brennen Hegel, Riley Jepson, Connor MacKenzie, there were more people cheering on the visitors than the Wolfpack! And they had a lot to cheer for early. In both games the bats came alive early with #2 Donovan Moorman leading off the game with a hard liner down the third base line, and one pitch later #18 Dan Rogers smashed a line drive double to the right centre gap, scoring Moorman. Two batters later, FV third baseman #15 Brennan Hegel doubled home Rogers for a 2-0 lead.
FV doubled its lead in the second inning when first baseman #24 Clayton Churchill reached base on an error by Wolfpack’s second baseman Reid Flasch, and FV catcher #20 Connor MacKenzie got hit by a pitch setting the stage for Moorman’s second hard line drive down the left field line scoring Churchill. After Rogers was intentionally walked, a wild pitch to right fielder Tim Riley scored MacKenzie. TRU starting pitcher #41 Nelson Lypszyc said “last time I faced these guys, I walked the bases loaded so I figured for sure they’d let a couple go early in counts but they just came out ripping the ball!”
That was it for FV scoring in the first game, but the solid five innings turned in by FV starting pitcher #4 Dylan Emmons, and solid relief work by Brandon Jeon with a spectacular save recorded by third baseman and closer #15 Brennan Hegel meant that the four runs were all FV needed to hang on for the 4-3 Win. When asked about the pitching in the first game Corness said “I thought Dylan Emmons set a great tone on the mound with 5 strong innings and giving up only 1 hit. He was very impressive filling up the strike zone and keeping TRU hitters off balance a great complete team win.”
Asked for his comments on the difference between game one and game two, Corness offered that “[g]ame two started off the same at the plate. [We] opened up early again with some great hitting. [W]e stayed in this [game] even though we didn’t get the same effort on the mound; too many deep counts and our pitchers [kept getting] into hitters counts, a good lesson for our pitchers seeing what happens when you are always pitching from behind at this level.” Seeming to take the loss in stride as a useful tool to evaluate player performance, Corness offered that “[a]ll in all a great day for our guys and another [two games] showing that we are more than capable of playing at this level. [Even] more impressive is that fact that we are all Freshman. Game 1 box score click here Game 2 box score click here FVCB Roster: go to http://iscorebaseball.com/fvcbaseball and click the “Roster” button in the lefthand nav panel.