Parksville Royals infielder Shane Rogers drops down a bunt against the Whalley Chiefs in the second game of their B.C. Premier Baseball League doubleheader at Springwood Park in Parksville Sunday, July 2, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville Royals eye home playoff date

Baseball squad splits final regular-season home games

The Quality Foods Parksville Royals closed out their home regular-season schedule by splitting a pair of doubleheaders at Springwood Park in B.C. Premier Baseball League play last weekend.

This time, it may not mean the end of BCPBL action in Parksville for the summer.

The Royals improved to 26-16 after a 6-0 win and an 11-4 loss against the Victoria Mariners Saturday, followed by an 11-2 victory and a 9-2 loss to the Whalley Chiefs of Surrey Sunday, all at Springwood.

The results solidified Parksville’s hold on fourth place in the league going into its final two regular-season games — a return trip to Surrey Tuesday, July 4, to face the same Whalley squad. The top four finishers will each host a first-round series in the league’s eight-team playoffs.

“We had an opportunity to get into second place (with a sweep) this weekend,” said Jorhn “Frankie” Kaluzniak. “We’re kind of putting our fate into other people’s hands, but at the end of the day we’re sitting in a pretty good spot.”

If the Royals hang on to fourth place and host a playoff series, it will be the first for the program since the BCPBL went to the eight-team playoff format more than 10 years ago, said former longtime coach Dave Wallace.

It might also create the equivalent of a seven- game series against Whalley to end the season. The Chiefs (24-15) left Sunday’s doubleheader in Parksville ranked fifth in the standings and, if they hold that spot, would return to the mid- Island for a best-of-3 series July 15-16.

In Sunday’s opener, Brayden Baker scattered six hits while striking out seven in a complete-game, 11-2 romp over the Chiefs. Shane Rogers paced Parksville’s 14-hit attack with a 4-for-4 showing at the plate, while Nolan Baker was 3-for-4 and Nicholas Yu was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Parksville’s Kieran Bowles drove in two runs with a pair of sacrifice flies.

Whalley rallied in the nightcap, taking advantage of a pair of errors to bat around in a five-run third inning that erased an early 1-0 Royals advantage.

Dylan Kirby delivered a two-out, RBI single in the fourth to bring Parksville to 5-2, but Josh Marchese got a ball into the wind blowing out to right field for a home run that restored the lead to four runs at 6-2 in the top of the fifth. Josh Laukkanen took the loss.

The Royals opened the weekend with a 6-0 blanking of the second-place Victoria Mariners. Starter Jayden Marsh was masterful, spinning a one-hitter with two walks and eight strikeouts. On offence, the Royals scored all their runs in a big second inning that included five hits, two Mariners errors and two batters hit by pitch. Eight different players had a hit for Parksville, with Laukkanen and Yu each driving in a pair of runs.

Victoria bounced back in the second game, cruising to an 11-4 victory while pounding out 16 hits off three Royals pitchers. Robinder Dhut was stuck with the loss.