Parksville Royals endure 16 innings with Nanaimo
Those that turned out to take in the BCPBL game of the week up at Springwood Park Saturday were treated to a battle Royale, as the hometown team went toe-to-toe with the front-running (and favoured) Nanaimo Pirates.
The Quality Foods Royals lost 3-1 in a marathon game one that took 16 innings and five pitchers to decide, then bounced back with a big 8-0 romp in game two.
The opener, played out under great summer conditions, was the longest game of the year for both teams and the longest for the Royals in team history.
Decked out in their Canada Day reds, the Royals were a stubborn bunch against the high performance league's second place team, but let one slip away.
Contacted Sunday, longtime Royals' pitching coach, Jim Seredick conceded it was a long day at the office.
"Sixteen innings, can you believe that," he laughed. "It ended up 3-1 for the bad guys, but just outstanding pitching, I mean it was just superb, especially by our second (pitcher) Marcus Drewry, he came in in the fifth and he pitched 10 solid innings — he gave up four hits and no runs. Remarkable."
Nanaimo's starter Kenton Schroter had his hands full with the Royals, and had thrown 117 pitches when they finally pulled him in the 12th inning. Schroter, a senior and the Pirates' ace, went 11 innings and struck out 14.
Mitch Powelson got the start for the Royals on the hill and was solid through four, giving up one run. Drewry, a crafty right handed senior from Courtenay, came in the bottom of the fifth and finished at around 93 pitches.
"Marcus has a really good arm — he keeps the ball down, he's got terrific arm angle, and he's got very, very good control. He does't walk people," Seredick said when asked what Drewry dishes up. "He's not going to overpower you, but he'll make you put the ball in play, and he's very, very determined. He's a competitor and he'll challenge you — he'll make you hit the ball."
Game one started at 12:15 and ended just before 5 p.m., "so you're looking at a four hour game," said Seredick. "I've never been involved in one that long. Not 16 innings, not in the 10-and-a-half years I've been involved with the team."
Josh Croft generated the Royals lone RBI of the game when he drove in Ashton Martin to stake the Royals to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
The Royals stranded numerous runners that game and had the sacks loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 12th but failed to capitalize.
Liam Joyce from Duncan came in in the top of the 16th.
The Pirates stole the win with a one-out 2RBI double.
The Royals had two runners on base with two out in their last at but the game ended on a fly-out.
In keeping with the schedule the teams were given a 30 minute break then it was back at it for Game 2.
Brian Pawlina was on the bump for the win.
Deep Bay senior Kevin Biro hit two home runs in that game — both of his were three-run shots — for six RBIs. Matt Ney got in on the hit parade for a solo shot.
With only nine games reaming in the 46-game regular season, the Royals can see the finish line. Winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Quality Foods crew is 22-15 and sitting fourth in the 12-team league — six games back of the first place Langley Blaze, three-and-a-half back of the second place Pirates at 25-11.
The Royals have a makeup game in Victoria against the third place Mariners on Thursday, then return to Inouye/Wallace Field for a four game home stand this weekend with double headers against the Abbotsford Cardinals on Saturday and Vancouver Cannons on Sunday. The pinstripes close out the BCPBL regular season the following weekend with four games on the Mainland.
The top eight teams advance to the playoffs and the top four earn a home playoff game — that the Royals are in a position to do just that for the first time in club history is not lost on the local fans.
"If we don't fold the tent we have a shot at it. That's certainly one of our goals," said Seredick.