Play ball: Blaze set to defend provincial title

Langley among the favourites in B.C. U18 Premier Baseball League

The talent is there for the Langley Blaze to once again be among the elite teams in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

“I think right now, we are one of the top two or three teams, and hopefully by the end, we are the top team,” said Blaze coach Jamie Bodaly.

“We have a lot of talent. Our job as coaches is to push them and get them better.”

The Blaze went 35-12 in 2014 and capped things off by capturing the provincial championship.

And Langley returns nine players from last year’s title-winning team, including what should be the ball club’s top two pitchers, Kyle Ross and Cooper Misic.

Ross, a six-foot four left-hander, was 5-1 with an 0.85 earned run average in 41 innings pitched with 51 strikeouts.

Misic, a six-foot-six right-hander, was 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 40 innings pitched, striking out 30 batters.

Two other expected big arms — Kristjan Storrie and Kurt Meeberg — are battling injuries but could potentially join the rotation later at some point.

“Our pitching has more depth but not as high-end (as last year),” Bodaly said.

“I think our defence is going to be better than last year and our hitting is not as good as last year, but we are going to manufacture (offence).”

The offence will be led by returnees Hayden Jaco (.347 batting average, .400 on-base percentage) with 15 RBIs and Connor Chorpita, who was second on the team with 23 RBIs. He also had a team-high nine doubles and 12 extra-base hits. Chorpita and another returnee, Dakota Curry ,were also tied for the team lead with two home runs apiece. Curry also came up clutch at provincials back in August, delivering a walk-off bases loaded double to score two runs and give the Blaze a 4-3 extra innings win over the North Shore Twins in the gold-medal game. And the day before in the semifinals, Curry was at it as well, hitting a two-run extra-innings home run for the 4-2 victory.

Langley also adds eight new players who have graduated from the Jr. Blaze ranks.

The U16 team won the B.C. Junior Premier Baseball League title with a 37-7 record before losing all three of their games at the provincial championships.

Jake Polancic went 11-2 for the team with a 1.67 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched while Yi-Fan Pan was 8-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched.

Both are right-handed pitchers.

Parker Logan, a left-handed pitcher was 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA. He struck out 48 batters in 48 innings.

Offensively, Yi-An Pan had 25 RBIs and Markus Gregson had 21.

Bodaly expects some sort of learning curve for the players new to the U18 level.

“I think by June they are going to get physically stronger and learn the game from us and take off,” he said.

The Blaze kick off the PBL season with a pair of doubleheaders this weekend, on Saturday at South Surrey Athletic Park against the White Rock Tritons and on Sunday at McLeod Park against the Nanaimo Pirates (noon and 2:30 p.m.).

Langley enters the season on a bit of a down note as for the first time in six years, the team failed to win the Kamloops Best of the West tournament.

“We got humbled a bit in Kamloops and made a lot of mistakes,” Bodaly said.

“I think all that poor weather when we got back from Arizona, we weren’t on the field for about eight days so we went to Kamloops and looked like we hadn’t been on the field in like, two months.”

Prior to that, the Blaze had gone on the annual spring training trip to Arizona and they also won a tournament they entered in Las Vegas back in February.

“The kids have worked really hard (this spring),” Bodaly said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aldergrove legion Branch 265 president Doug Hadley presents a poppy to Langley Township mayor Jack Froese. (Madeline Roach/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Poppy sales begin at Aldergrove legion branch #265

Branch president Doug Hadley shared the poem Who is a Veteran to begin the time of remembrance

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

Willowbrook Shopping Centre. (Langley Advance Times files)
Le Chateau will shutter stores in Willowbrook, across Canada

The Canadian fashion company says COVID-19 has made it impossible to continue operating

The Glow Gardens light display will be moving to the Greater Vancouver Zoo this year for an outdoor event. (Langley Advance Times files)
Glow Gardens light display re-locates to Greater Vancouver Zoo

Now outdoors, the event will start nightly in November

On Oct. 22, 2020 Langley School District reported an individual with COVID-19 was at the school on Oct. 13, 14 and 15. (Google)
Six Langley schools now on COVID-19 exposure list

Belmont elementary is latest school added

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read