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Six straight wins have lifted the Okanagan Athletics into fourth place and a clinched playoff berth in the B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League.
Averaging more than eight runs in those six victories during the past four days, the A’s improved to 27-17 on the season and are nine games behind the league-leading Langley Blaze and just 3 1/2 games back of second-place North Shore Twins, who visit Kelowna’s Elks Stadium this weekend for the final regular-season series.
Playing host to a pair of doubleheaders with the Mid Island Pirates at Elks on the past weekend, the A’s capped their six-game winning streak with a six-run seventh inning and a 9-4 win on Sunday
After giving up two runs in each of the first two innings, the A’s replied with two runs of their own in the fourth and added one in the sixth before going ahead for the first time with the six runs on four singles and three walks in the seventh.
Colton Schaper-Kotter, Marcus Strother and Adam Sarafinchan all drove in a pair of runs for the winners, who managed seven hits, their lowest total in the four-game set. Jaden Parsons raised his league-leading batting average to .423 with two hits — his sixth and seventh of the weekend.
Jackson Borne came in relief of starting pitcher, Ethan Huizinga, in the fourth inning and shut out the Pirates the rest of the way. He scattered four hits and struck out two for his seventh win of the season.
Earlier in the day, the A’s took a different route to victory, jumping out to a 6-1 lead by the third inning and cruising to another 9-4 triumph.
Cole Van Every led the Athletics with three hits, including a double, and three runs while Parsons, Borne and Luigi Russo all contributed a pair of singles.
The pitching win went to starter Carter Morris who gave up four hits in his 6 1/3-inning stint that included two strikeouts and five walks.
On Saturday, the A’s gave an indication of what was to come when they exploded for six runs in the first inning of the first game en route to a 9-3 victory over the Pirates.
Alex Wright (home run and single) and Strother (triple and single) both connected for two hits and two runs-batted-to lead the A’s 12-hit performance.
Sarafinchan pitched the first five innings, holding the Pirates to three hits while striking out five for his third win in five decisions.
In Saturday’s second game, the A’s won a 10-4 slugfest that saw the hosts pound out 14 hits while Mid Island had 12 of their own.
Wright blasted his league-best eighth home run of the season and added a double for two RBI while Kade Kozak chipped in with three hits, two runs and a run-batted-in. Owen Alstad also doubled and finished with two hits and two runs.
Earlier in the week, the A’s traveled to Coquitlam to take on the Reds (20-22) and swept the hosts 7-5 and 6-2.
This weekend’s final four regular-season games will see the A’s and North Shore (30-13) meeting in a doubleheader on Saturday (2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.) at Elks Stadium. The two teams are back on the field for a twin bill on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
While the Athletics are assured of being among the eight teams in the playoffs, their final position won’t be determined until after weekend play.
The first round of the post-season schedule will see the top-four finishers playing host to a best-of-three series to determine the final four playoff teams that will compete in the BCPBL championship series being played at Elks Stadium Aug. 3-6.
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