NANAIMO — The Mid Island Pirates begin their BC Premier Baseball League season on Saturday with a double header against the Whalley Chiefs at Serauxmen Stadium.
Through the preseason and a recent tournament in Kelowna coach Doug Rogers says the Pirates have won three quarters of their games.
His expectations are always to see his team win a championship, but the same core group that finished 22-26 in 2018 is back with more experience and better mental and physical maturity.
"We have good leadership this year, we have a lot of different pieces in place that we're really excited about. I think this year we have a legitimate shot of getting to that final four and doing some damage," said Rogers.
Whalley is off to an 0-2 start as they head to Nanaimo on Saturday and they're one of the teams the Pirates have yet to face through the exhibition and tournament schedule.
Rogers says they are a young team that struggled last year, but his group will not be taking them lightly at all.
The Pirates players and coaches are looking forward to finally geting to work in games that count in the standings and also to the excitement that comes with opening day.
"It's such a special day," explained Rogers. "It doesn't matter if you play a hundred games in preseason, as soon as that opening day comes there's just something different about it. Going to the ball park everybody is motivated, you certainly don't have to motivate your team - you almost have to calm them down a bit. I wish every day could be like that."
This past offseason the Pirates finished work on their own indoor training facility which is something most PBL teams don't have.
Rogers believes having that option, especially in Nanaimo's uncertain winter climate, has helped the team get off to a fast start.
But judging the true benefits won't come until the Pirates have played a lot more baseball.
Saturday's games at Serauxmen start at 1 p.m and 3:30 p.m. and then Mid Island heads out on the road for games in White Rock on Sunday.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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