With seven games completed in this year’s men’s fastball campaign the Sooke Loggers, as of June 9 had yet to record a loss.
Fashioning a string of eight consecutive wins in the eight-team league, the Loggers had not only gone undefeated but did so with phenomenal pitching and defense – allowing an incredible one run over the string.
Add to that a total of 70 runs scored and the picture of dominance gets all the clearer.
Veteran pitching talent had shown its value with Shawn Koster and Scott Lieph combining for 59 strikeouts over that span.
Partial statistics as obtained from the Mac Park website indicated that playing coach Brian Banner had been doing a fair bit of his leading by example.
Here’s how the numbers had been compiled after a four-game stint: 10 plate appearances; six hits including three home runs; eight runs scored and five runs batted in.
The team’s closest rival in the standings, percentage-wise was the Victoria Merchants who had piled up only half the points of the Sooke team. Sooke’s other squad, the Smoke, was in the thick of things as well at fifth spot on the list.
Speaking with Banner on June 9 the first question was, naturally, “Is there a misprint on the stat sheet? Have you really allowed only one run so far this season?”
The playing coach clarified that the statistics told the true story.
“There’s really only a couple of teams in the league that are competitive with us,” said Banner, “but still, to let in only the one run is pretty good.”
The team will play 21 games over the course of the Mac-Park schedule, but there is room for assorted tests along the way.
“We played a tournament in Nanaimo at the beginning of the year, we were 5-and-0 in that, then we went to Kelowna on the May long weekend. That was a really good tournament with a bunch of Vancouver teams.” The Loggers lost the semi-final (7-3) for the right to go up against the eventual champs – the Vancouver Giants.
The bullpen was singled out for analysis, starting with the customarily strong showing by Scott Lieph.
“Scott’s been the big game guy this year,” Banner related. “Shawn (Koster) was hurt at the beginning of the year but he’s just starting to come around now. There has definitely been strong pitching.”
Jared Cooper is also available for mound duty when called upon and his presence could be some insurance as soon as next month. With tournaments in three of the four weekends in July everyone in the lineup will likely be needed.
There is no part of the Loggers’ game that’s in trouble.
“Everybody’s chipping in,” he said of the team’s hitting to date. “Our defense has been really good this year, too – stronger than last year.”
Provincials and Westerns (this year in Manitoba) are clearly in the Loggers’ sights, as are next year’s world championships to be held at an as-yet undetermined location.
The team plays it’s games at Macdonald Park in James Bay, but Banner says there will hopefully be some action for fans in Sooke to enjoy – a three-team series of double headers with the Sooke Smoke and another squad toward the end of this month.