KAMLOOPS — The Wolfpack have been so close, yet so far from a Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference championship.
They've been to the championship final in five of the last seven years, but have always run into the seven-time defending champions from Prairie Baseball Academy.
"There's been a few years that I thought we were really good, but we didn't have the depth that we have now," said Wolfpack manager Ray Chadwick. "So this could be a really good year for us."
The Wolfpack picked up four players from the now defunct University of Winnipeg baseball program, which played in the NAIA, an equivalent league to CCBC. The top acquistion from that team was pitcher Tyler Moskalyk, who tossed seven innings and allowed one earned run in a 2-1 loss to Fraser Valley on Saturday.
Moskalyk is thankful for the warmer weather in Kamloops and another opportunity to play baseball.
"It's been a nice change. The weather's a lot better," he joked. "We've got a lot bigger roster. It's nice to have some relief. At Winnipeg, I was usually asked to pitch all nine innings. It's nice to have a bullpen here."
Moskalyk will likely pitch behind third-year Wolfpack Tyler Hodder, the ace of that rotation who pitched in the season-opening 3-2 loss to the Cascades.
"No, I don't feel a lot of pressure [as the ace]," said the Fort McMurray native. "I just want to go out there and compete the best I can for my team. That's basically my main goal, be the best I can be."
Pitching is a definite strength of the team, but the players note if the offense follows, this might be the year to win their first league championship since 2009.
"I think we got the team to do it," said senior infielder Josh Hillis. "We just got to come out and play our game. Our bats got to get going a little bit. We had a bit of a down weekend. But honestly if we get our bats going, I don't see any reason why we couldn't take [PBA]."
Chadwick said the Wolfpack can field three solid teams with all the depth they have. The team hopes that's enough to put them over the top.
"We got a ton of depth here," said Hillis. "We got nine guys that start for us, plus a bunch more guys who can play for us. So we got a ton of depth and I think that's what makes this team as good as any I have been on."
The Wolfpack play PBA on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Norbrock Stadium. The teams also play two games on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
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