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Tigers battle for wins
The South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association Tigers got a morale boost, according to their coach, when they defeated the Victoria Selects 11-10 in extra innings at McNicoll Park April 26.
The midget AAA Tigers spotted the Selects a six-run lead in the opening inning, then began clawing back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. The Tigers were held off the scoresheet in the bottom of the second and just one more time in the fifth inning as they battled to victory.
“It was an extremely tough game,” said Deleon, of the game that started at 1:45 p.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m. “I think it shows kind of what this team is made out of. Most of our games this year we have trailed, if not at the beginning, at some point during the season, and they have managed to not roll over and die.”
Deleon said his players have a different attitude.
In the Tigers’ opening five games, they managed to score 11 runs and picked up one win. The Tigers hurt themselves by not cashing in runners in scoring position. Deleon said his group believes they are capable of scoring, but have trouble executing. While the Tigers kept chipping away at the Selects lead, Deleon credited his pitchers for keeping things close. Deleon watched as players got out of their comfort zone to help the team.
In the second game against the Selects, the Tigers won 6-3.
“We used the energy gained from first game and just did what we had to do,” he said.
The Tigers travelled to West Kelowna on Sunday and won 8-6 for a weekend sweep that improved their record to 4-4 in the provincial standings. Again in that game the Tigers fell behind. Deleon saw resiliency and composure in his group. The Tigers trailed heading into the sixth and scored to take an 8-6 lead. In the seventh, they had runners on second and third with one away. A West Kelowna player hit a line drive into the outfield that was caught and resulted in the Tigers doubling the runner off of second base to end the game.
This weekend the Tigers have back-to-back double headers against Richmond City May 3 (1:30 and 3:30 p.m. scheduled starts) and Vancouver Community May 4 (10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) at Carmi Field.
Deleon will continue to work with his players to bring runners home and spend time on base running.
“We need to be a little bit more player aggressive as opposed to coach aggressive,” said Deleon.
Players who are given the green light to steal bases are still looking to Deleon to make a decision.
“If the sign isn’t given to them, they don’t take advantage of it,” said Deleon adding it’s a confidence issue.
The Tigers coach has confidence in his players who have the ability to steal bases at any time.
“Players need to make decisions better themselves without looking at the coach,” he said. “If we had been able to score half the runs left stranded, our run total would be through the roof.”