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The Fort St. John Black Sox opened their Wheatbelt Baseball League season last night at the college diamonds as they took on the Fairview Outlaws. Unfortunately for the Sox they were unable to establish early momentum as they fell in the game 11-6.

While the score may have been lopsided on paper, it was not indicative of the game itself. Player/coach Ryan Stickel said that miscues in the field played a big part in the defeat, but believes that the issues can be overcome going forward.

“That’s exactly what happened but we’ve got a pretty young team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming out here that are coming up from little league or guys that are in their first year. It seemed more like nerves than mental lapses. It sucks to lose to first game of the year especially against another young team but I saw a lot of promise today. I think we can take a lot of positives out of this game.”

The team will be in a pair of games on Saturday as they take on the Peace River Stampeders. Stickel was hopeful the new players will have a positive impact on the game, while following the example set by the leaders of the team at the plate last night.

“It’s going to be big; double headers are always tough,” he admitted. “We’re going to have to make sure that the young guys come in and come focused. Hopefully we have the same number of bodies so we can roll guys through and let them rest. Our leaders have to step up. I didn’t hit at all today. Aaron Sampson had some good at bats, but Byron Hackett led us with the sticks. He put us in a lot of good situations to drive in runs. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that following him.”

Saturday’s games against the Stampeders are slated for 1 and 4 p.m.

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