Last month, shortly after the province announced its COVID-19 restart plan, White Rock Tritons general manager Kyle Dhanani said his teams were “ready to go” the second they received the green light to start playing teams from other cities.
He wasn’t kidding.
On Wednesday, just 24 hours after B.C. moved into Phase 2 of the restart, the BC Premier Baseball League released a schedule for a revised 2021 season, and soon after all three Tritons teams – the bantams, juniors and seniors – were on the field, playing teams that for the first time in months were not their Triton teammates.
“It was big for the guys. This is what we’ve been waiting for,” Dhanani said Friday.
“A lot of them have been waiting a long time to be Tritons, and they finally got that opportunity.”
All three squads faced off against the North Delta Blue Jays – the bantams and seniors at South Surrey Athletic Park and the juniors on the road in Delta – with the bantams and juniors earning wins, 8-0 and 13-3 respectively, and the seniors falling 6-0.
Despite the loss, Dhanani noted that the senior squad “hit the ball really well.”
The senior Tritons will play a 25-game season that extends until late July, while the juniors and bantams will play 36 games each between now and mid-August. The shorter season for the older crew is a result of many players having to leave for university by the B.C. Day long weekend.
For the first two weeks, the Tritons will only play North Delta, after which the schedule expands, and the Semiahmoo Peninsula teams will play teams from across the Lower Mainland, as well as Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.
The multi-team schedule was what Dhanani – not to mention others in the PBL and across the provincial sports landscape – expected would be allowed immediately when the province announced the restart plan in May could include “local” games. However, provincial organization viaSport soon notified sports associations that “local” meant games could only be played within each association – a decision Dhanani called “quite disappointing” at the time.
With Wednesday night’s opening games in the books, next up for the Tritons’ senior team is a doubleheader Saturday at North Delta’s Mackie Park, while the juniors will host the Blue Jays for a Saturday doubleheader of their own, at South Surrey Athletic Park.
The bantam Tritons will also be on the road Saturday, playing a pair of games against the Delta Tigers at Winskill Park.