After a very slow start, the Whalley Chiefs are showing signs of challenging for a playoff position in the B.C. Premier Baseball League (PBL).
The Chiefs swept a doubleheader from the North Delta Blue Jays Sunday, gaining ground in the standings midway through their PBL schedule. Whalley won by scores of 6-4 and 13-2.
They lost at home Tuesday night at Whalley Stadium, falling 8-3 to the North Shore Twins.
Although just 7-19 (won-lost) on the season, the Chiefs are 4-6 in their past 10 games. Whalley is in 12th position in the 13-team league and trails the eighth-place Vancouver Cannons (12-13) by five and one-half games, while the Blue Jays are at 9-13 and are just a game and one-half away from the final playoff position.
North Delta could have moved into eighth place and a playoff position with two wins Sunday. They led 2-0 after one inning, and scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, but gave up six runs in between.
Back-to-back infield outs scored runners from third base to put North Delta in front 2-0.
A Jays error allowed Whalley to get their first run in the second inning, and three batters later Matthew Yee doubled to score Cole Hunt and Colton Wright for a 3-2 Chiefs lead.
Up 4-2 going into the top of the sixth, the visitors added two more runs as a single from Connor Chorpita scored Kyle McComb and Yee.
North Delta scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh inning, taking advantage of a Chiefs error and a pair of walks. But with two runners in scoring position, the Blue Jays could not get a hit.
Chorpita was the top batter for the Chiefs with two hits, a pair of RBIs and one run scored.
Brad Antchak was credited with two RBIs for North Delta. Malcolm Boehm was the lone Jay with more than one hit, hitting a pair of singles in three at-bats.
Graham Bailey was the winning pitcher, giving up two earned runs on five hits and four walks over seven innings pitched.
Whalley jumped on the Blue Jays early in game two, leading 3-2 after one inning, 7-2 after two and 11-2 after three. Two more runs in the sixth frame ended the contest on the 10-run mercy rule.
Hunt and Ryan Pouwells had two hits each for the Chiefs. Hunt also had three RBIs, with Chorpita, Wright and Braeden Allemann driving in two runs each. Pouwells and Hunt scored three runs each.
The Chiefs got another complete game from their starting pitcher. Yuta Kikuzaki got the win, allowing five hits without issuing a walk. Four North Delta pitchers combined to allow seven hits and nine walks.
Clint Taylor and Antchak led Blue Jays batters with a pair of singles each.
North Delta finished the weekend with three losses in four games. They split two games in North Vancouver Saturday, defeating the North Shore Twins 2-1 before dropping a 2-0 decision in the rematch.
Ryan Braun held the Twins to one earned run in the first game despite North Shore getting seven hits and drawing five walks. The Jays got two hits each from Taylor, Antchak and Bryan O’Hara, but didn’t get the winning run until there were two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Taylor singled, then scored on Antchak’s double.
The Twins scored twice in the bottom of the first inning of game two, then both teams were scoreless over the final six innings.
Two singles each from Boehm, Mitch Boychuk and Jordy Cunningham accounted for the six Jays hits.
The Twins trailed 2-1 after three innings of Tuesday’s game, but scored three times in the fourth and four in the seventh for the win. Pouwells and Wright had two hits each for the Chiefs.
Both the Jays and Whalley are playing tomorrow (Thursday), with North Delta hosting the Vancouver Cannons at 6 p.m. at Mackie Park, while the Chiefs are in Langley to face the first-place Blaze (17-5) at 7 p.m.
On the weekend, the Chiefs are in Kelowna for four games with the Okanagan Athletics, while Jays are home for two doubleheaders. The Parksville Royals are the visitors Saturday, while the Victoria Mariners are the opponents Sunday.