UFV Cascades impress on spring training trip to Arizona

Facing American competition, the UFV baseball team came away with a winning record in Tucson.

The University of the Fraser Valley baseball Cascades won four of seven games on a spring training trip to Arizona last week.

The Cascades traveled to Tucson to face U.S. opposition, starting March 4 with a game against the Mount Marty College Lancers.

The Lancers play in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, a 10 team circuit affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Kamloops import Riley Jepson led the UFV offence with two doubles and six runs batted in in a 17-7 win. Chilliwack’s Jake Gill pitched a scoreless inning in relief, striking out one.

After losing a pair of games to the Miles College Golden Bears, the Cascades got back on track against Rockford University Regents.

The Regents are an NCAA Div-III team playing in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.

The teams played a double-header March 6 with UFV banging out 5-2 and 11-8 wins. Chilliwackians Tre Pankratz and Colin Kellington each tripled and drove in one run apiece.

Liam Campbell had an RBI.

Pulling double duty as a pitcher, Kellington worked the seventh inning, retiring the side on seven pitches with a strikeout.

Gill got the start in the high-scoring rematch and pitched well, giving up four hits and one run with three strikeouts over three innings.

Chilliwack’s Dan Rogers finished the game with 1.2 innings of flame-throwing, fanning four Rockford batters.

Jepson, Mitch Brown (Aldergrove), Stephen Horner (Vancouver) and Caelan Sampson (Chilliwack) each drove in two runs. Sampson did his damage with a double, and he also drew a walk.

UFV lost 11-4 to the Arizona Western College Matadors on March 7, and didn’t lose again for the rest of the trip.

They whomped the Waldorf University Warriors 16-7 March 8 and finished with a double header on March 9 versus the California Miramar University Fighting Falcons.

Chilliwack’s Parker Logan and North Vancouver’s Walter Eschner pitched the Cascades to a 5-0 win in the opener.

Pankratz came off the bench to drive in two runs with a triple.

The teams played to an 8-8 draw in the rematch, with Pankratz and Rogers driving in two runs apiece.

Rogers had the big hit with a triple in the top of the sixth inning and came across to score on a Pankratz sacrifice fly.

“You always wonder what it will be like to face live pitching after the winter and the guys came out ready to go on offence and pitching,” said happy Cascade coach Shawn Corness. “I was very impressed with our guys and I’m excited about the home opener.

“The boys are anxious to get the season going.”

The Cascades host Thompson Rivers U March 24 and 25 at Fairfield Island with opening pitch at noon both days.

UFV visits the Calgary Dinos the next weekend as the Canadian Colleges Baseball Conference season gets underway.

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