Coach Evan Bailey got a preview of what it might feel like to send his kids to college after his Okanagan A’s fell in the playoffs, Saturday.
The A’s lost 5-3 and 6-0 to the Langley Blaze in the best-of-three B.C. Premier Baseball League opening round. Seven veterans will be graduating to college this fall.
Three of them — Colton Schaper-Kotter, Adam Sarafinchan and Jaden Parsons — have been with Bailey since they were 12 years old.
“People that maybe are not as involved don’t understand how emotional it can be,” he said.
“Definitely a weird moment, but I guess that’s how it goes. They’ll be missed for sure. We had a great group of core leaders.”
The others who played their final game in an A’s uniform are Mason Glowacki, Jared Leroux, Carter Morris and Alex Wright.
They put up a fight against the Blaze.
Okanagan led 3-0 after the fourth inning of Game 1, but couldn’t put it away.
The Blaze — seeded third — scored two in the bottom of the fourth and took control with a three-run sixth inning.
Morris pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and striking out four.
Ryan Gamage, Ronnel Castro and Chase Batchelor each knocked in a run.
It was a different story in the second game.
The Blaze got to the A’s starting pitcher early.
Leroux — who threw two no-hitters this season — was pulled in the first inning after Langley scored six runs on seven hits.
Sarafinchan came into pitch after that, and tossed a nearly complete game shutout. He allowed just four hits and struck out seven.
Gamage was 1-for-2 at the plate while Schaper-Kotter was 1-for-3.
They’ll take the rest of the summer off, but Bailey and the A’s will get back to work in early September.
The A’s coach, GM and program director has his work cut out for him with only five returnees expected.
Okanagan’s roster is smaller by about one-third compared to other squads, and he recruits from as far away as Prince George, Kamloops and Salmon Arm.
Only seven of 15 players are from Kelowna.
“I think we got the most out of the players that we could, for sure,” he said. “We had a small roster, and were competitive right to the end. We moved all our senior players on with scholarships. If you look at the season that way I thought we had a great year. It’s just time for a new chapter, I guess.”
Visit okanaganathletics.ca to learn more.
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