Starting pitcher Alex Gibbons went the distance in the Abbotsford Junior Cardinals’ first game of the season

Starting pitcher Alex Gibbons went the distance in the Abbotsford Junior Cardinals’ first game of the season

Cards sharp in early going

There’s a nice early-season buzz building around the Abbotsford Cardinals premier baseball program.

There’s a nice early-season buzz building around the Abbotsford Cardinals premier baseball program.

The Cardinals senior team is off to a scorching start, running its record to 4-0 with a pair of wins last week.

The Junior Cardinals, meanwhile, got their season underway with a Saturday doubleheader at DeLair Park vs. the Victoria Junior Eagles, and they staged a series of strong individual performances en route to splitting the two games.

“We definitely have a good buzz and a good feeling with both teams right now,” Junior Cards coach Shawn Besse said. “Our juniors look up to the seniors quite a bit, and to see them get off to a 4-0 start was encouraging.

“It’s been a long haul with winter training and spring workouts, and it’s nice to get outside.”

Junior Cards centre fielder Liam Mitchell was a beast at the plate in Saturday’s opener, going 5-for-5 with four RBI to power his team to an 10-2 triumph. Starting pitcher Alex Gibbons went the distance, allowing two runs on five hits with six strikeouts.

In the second game of the day, Victoria built a 6-1 lead, but the Junior Cards put together a five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Tanner Rempel. The Junior Eagles prevailed in extra innings, though, plating a run in the top of the eighth.

“We had some mental mistakes (in the second game), which is going to happen at the start of the season,” Besse noted. “But we bounced back, and it was a big character builder – one inning is all it takes. We’ve always emphasized that hitting is contagious, and once things get going, it spreads throughout the lineup all the way down the order.”

The Cardinals senior squad knocked off the perennial powerhouse Langley Blaze 4-3 on Tuesday, and edged the Whalley Chiefs 2-1 in their home opener on Thursday.

Kurtis Kostuk and Liam Shibata drove in two runs apiece vs. the Blaze, while starting pitcher Rajin Neger kept the Blaze off the board for six innings before Langley mounted a rally in the seventh that fell short.

The Cards also got a terrific pitching performance vs. Whalley – Jesse McGowen surrendered just a single run over six-plus innings, striking out seven along the way.

• The senior Cardinals are at home on Tuesday for a rematch vs. Whalley (7 p.m., DeLair Park), while the juniors are on the road for a trio of games this week.