Baseball Nationals

May 7th, 2017

LIVE scoring of all games at the CCBC Nationals

 

Mariners play ball at nationals
by Greg Sakaki, Nanaimo News Bulletin 

VIU competing at Canadian College Baseball Conference championships

The game changes a little bit when a championship is on the line, and the VIU Mariners will adapt.

Vancouver Island University’s baseball club begins play Wednesday (May 10) at the Canadian College Baseball Conference championships in Kelowna.

Tournament baseball brings some different challenges, including the potential for a lot of important games in a short time frame.

“I think our team’s prepared,” said Jordan Blundell, Mariners manager. “For the most part, I think we’re healthy enough to put our best foot forward here and I think guys are ready to get after the tournament and see what happens.”

Whereas in the regular season, teams meet in four-game series, at nationals they face different opponents each day. So there’s some strategy involved in setting up the pitching rotation for specific matchups, and trying to conserve guys for do-or-die semifinals later in the tourney. Coaches might also make different lineup choices at nationals.

“This is the time of year where we’re more results-based with decision-making, so the guys that are going will be the guys that we look to to go first, and the bench will probably be a little bit shorter than it has been all year,” Blundell said.

The Mariners go into the tournament feeling as though they’re ready to play their best baseball. Blundell said he’s seen improvements in all facets of the game. Offensively, a group approach has been working, he said, and is “night and day” compared to how it looked at some points this spring. He said the defence has been dependable all year. On the mound, the M’s feel they have guys “that can beat anybody,” Blundell said, and the staff is as healthy as it’s been.

All in all, he said it’s a Mariners team that’s different than the one that CCBC opponents have seen and expect.

Going into nationals with a young team has its positives and negatives. Though the Mariners deal with inconsistencies at times, guys who haven’t been to this tournament don’t know to be intimidated.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the mental side of the game and being prepared to be the guy who helps the team move on,” Blundell said. “Somebody on our team will be put in that position, for sure, this week and I think we’ve done everything we can to give them the tools that we know how to give.”