Langley Blaze's Rhys Cratty drove home the winning run in a 9-8 victory over the White Rock Tritons in the BCPBL regular season finale. The victory improved the Blaze to 33-11 as the team clinched the regular season pennant.

Stunning turnaround as Blaze capture league title

Langley Premier Baseball League squad was at 7-7 through 14 games before winning 26 of their next 30

After winning their first five games, the Langley Premier Blaze lost six straight and seven of their next nine games.

The 18U baseball team was sitting at 7-7 as they neared the one-third mark of the 44-game BC Premier Baseball League season.

What followed next was an epic run as the team went 26-4 over the final 30 games, winning the league pennant by one game over the North Shore Twins.

The Blaze swept the Twins on Sunday at McLeod Park, winning 6-2 and 11-1 to overtake North Shore.

So what changed from the first four weeks to the next 10?

“We had a meeting and talked about how we were going to get healthy and eventually go on a run,” said Langley coach Jamie Bodaly. He brought up the fact that the 2013 team he coached rattled off 27 consecutive victories.

The team’s struggles had a lot to do with not having their top line-up due to injuries and unavailable players.

At one point, they were missing their entire starting infield with outfielders playing infield and hitters who normally would bat in the bottom of the line-up now at the top of the order.

“I kept telling (general manager Doug Mathieson) once we get those guys back, everyone slots back into the right spot in the batting order and it turned out to be true,” Bodaly said.

As the team got healthier, they also began practising twice a day on their situational hitting and changed their game plan at the plate while also making an adjustment with their two-strike hitting.

The Blaze wound up leading the PBL with a .284 batting average and a .392 slugging percentage and were tied for third with a .383 on-base percentage. Langley also led in home runs with 14 — no one else had more than nine — and had a league-best 72 doubles. They also struck out a league-low 199 times.

The pitching staff also had a league-high 320 strikeouts and they were the only team with a sub-2.00 earned run average at 1.88. And opposing batters managed to hit just .205 against Langley pitchers.

“I have had amazing teams and have seen a lot of great accomplishments but to change our season the way we did, I can’t say enough about this group of guys,” Bodaly said.

Playoffs this weekend

The Blaze host the Abbotsford Cardinals in a best-of-three playoff series this weekend at McLeod Park, with the winner advancing to the provincial championships.

The first two games are on Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m. If necessary, the teams would play Sunday at 11 a.m.

Just Posted

Rash of break-ins overnight in Langley

Five businesses hit in one hour

TransLink reveals universal fare gates for transit users with disabilities

Gates are opened and closed automatically using a radio-frequency identification card

UPDATE: Fire at Port Coquitlam rail yard under control

Evacuation order lifted, residents told to remain inside

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

B.C. man accused of impersonating an officer eludes capture

Arrest warrant still stands for Bryce Scott Telford

UPDATE: ‘Fairy Godmother’ needs help to make prom night special for Langley grads

Charity collects donated dresses, suits, and accessories for grads who can’t afford them

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

5 to start your day

Tsunami warning activated in B.C. overnight, fuel truck hits train in Port Coquitlam and more

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Protect your home and save: New sensor stops flooding in its tracks

BC-made system offers solution to damaging leaks from water tanks, dishwashers and more

Most Read