Talk about the hot corner.
In the warmest Canada Day double header in memory, Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals hosted the Victoria Mariners up at Springwood Park on Monday, battling hard in the searing heat but getting scorched 8-4, 7-0.
The bright spot on the day came in the opening game: trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the third with runners on first and second, Sam Visona gave the hometown fans something to cheer about when he pounded a Mariner offering to the fence at right centre to score the runners with a standup triple.
The Royals, wearing their Canada Day red and whites, would score four runs on three hits to take a 4-3 lead, but that was it for hits while the Ms struck for a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth and seventh to nail down the win.
“It was the bright spot of the day considering we got all our runs for the day in that inning,” Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace surmised after the dust had settled, adding the two game stand “is a microcosm of our whole season. We play well for a number of innings, but not enough to make the plays required to be successful.”
Some of the players on the field looked like they were wilting in the heat.
“It was a very hot day, but it was the same for both teams …it was great weather,” countered Wallace.
One of the youngest teams in the league this year, the Royals, he said “have struggled with consistency all season.
Interestingly enough both teams had some problems on defence at and around third base when The NEWS stopped by in game one.
“Both the errors we made were made there — it’s a tough position to play because the ball comes at you a lot faster than other positions normally. That’s why they call it the hot corner, and yeah, on a day like (Monday) in heat like that, there’s a connection,” said Wallace, adding “we’ve had a struggle all year trying to be consistent, and if there is one position it’s at third base …its very similar to a goalie in hockey — that’s the mentality you have: block the ball, keep the ball in front of you or you don’t have a chance. Strong third-base play is a key to good defence.”
The Royals were in Victoria Sunday for a single game, losing 12-2 in what Wallace called “our poorest performance of the year.”
Visona, a senior from Port Alberni in his third and final year with the Royals, has been playing through injuries all season, had a double in that one and Parksville’s Mackenzie Parlow had two hits.
“He’s a gamer as well — he contributes,” said Wallace.
The Royals slip to 3-35 on the season and last in the 13-team BCPBL, but in the meantime, “you look for the positives, you’ve gotta learn from those things and move on,” said Wallace.
The Royals were in Nanaimo Wednesday evening for one game (score unavailable at press time) and return home this weekend for back to back double headers against the Okanagan Athletics, then close out the BCPBL regular season at home the following weekend with double headers against the North Shore Twins and the Whalley Chiefs.