Offence not in the Cards on opening weekend

On an overcast, sometimes soggy opening weekend, the Abbotsford Cardinals' bats simply didn't heat up.

Matt Buse of the Abbotsford Cardinals awaits a throw at second base as Langley’s Justin Atkinson slides in safely on Saturday at DeLair Park.

Matt Buse of the Abbotsford Cardinals awaits a throw at second base as Langley’s Justin Atkinson slides in safely on Saturday at DeLair Park.

On an overcast, sometimes soggy opening weekend, the Abbotsford Cardinals’ bats simply didn’t heat up.

The local B.C. Premier Baseball League outfit opened the regular season by losing three of four games at DeLair Park, scoring just one run combined over the course of the three defeats.

Against the Langley Blaze on Saturday, the Cards ran into two of the league’s best pitchers in Tom Robson and Devon Stewart. Both Blaze hurlers struck out nine Abby batters as Langley swept the doubleheader by scores of 5-0 and 3-0.

On Sunday against the Victoria Eagles, the Cards got into the win column with a 3-2 victory, but the Eagles won the back half of the two-game set 7-1.

“We’ve got work to do with the sticks,” Cardinals coach Andy Rempel noted. “We faced two of the top pitchers in the league from Langley, and we had good at-bats, we just didn’t get the timely hit we needed.

“And we’ve just got to tip our hats to Victoria’s pitchers. They had us off-balance all game, and we couldn’t make adjustments.”

The Cards’ lone win of the weekend came in thrilling fashion. In the bottom of the seventh with the score tied 2-2, Gabe Gomez and Adam Balliet both reached base on Eagles errors, and Ryan Lucky’s two-out single drove in Gomez with the winning run.

Lucky, the Cards’ shortstop, said his team just needs to be a little more selective at the dish in order to ignite the offence.

“We’ve got a lot of potential,” he said. “We just weren’t swinging at the right pitches. We’ve got to see the ball better, and hit what we can hit.”

The weekend results aside, Rempel is excited about how his team is shaping up. The Junior Cardinals feeder squad has been ranked in the top two for each of the past three regular seasons, and the senior club is set to reap the benefits of that development.

“Overall, we’ve got a really solid team – defensively, pitching, hitting-wise, once we’re clicking,” Rempel said. “I’m disappointed with the start, but I’m not worried about the season. We’ll get it ironed out. We’ll be fine.”

The Cardinals are on the road this week to face the North Delta Blue Jays (Thursday) and the North Shore Twins (Saturday). The next home game is Tuesday, April 19 against the Coquitlam Reds (7 p.m., DeLair Park).