Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood marked his return to the lineup Saturday, and Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals swept the visiting North Shore Twins 2-0 and 4-2 in BCPBL action.
Isherwood, who has been getting a lot of attention for his efforts with the Canadian National Jr. Team this spring south of the border, pitched all seven innings and picked up his first win of the young season with the pinstripes in game one of the double header.
Isherwood’s last start for the Royals was their season opener April 7 — he took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh in that one but the Royals lost 1-0 off an infield error.
Saturday’s game, in sunny but cool conditions, was scoreless through five and a half innings when home grown catcher Mackenzie Parlow opened the scoring, and first year Royal Clarke Ohman, a 6’3” pitcher/infielder from Vancouver, drove in Rob Vlaj for the insurance marker.
The Twins could only muster six hits off Isherwood, who looked comfortable on the hill while striking out six. Of the 96 pitches Isherwood threw in the game one win, 68 were strikes.
“That’s typical of his performances,” Royals skipper Dave Wallace said after the dust settled, adding “it’s always great to have Clayton on the roster — he misses a lot here because of his national team commitments, which is great, but every time he’s back he gives us a chance to win.”
Holed up in the bunker behind home plate Saturday was Walt Burrows, MLB Canadian Supervisor for the Major League Scouting Bureau, and Bob Smyth, a retired MLB area scout and longtime coach now living on the Island.
“He’s doing a good job out there today,” Smyth commented as ‘Ish worked the hill.
“He’s crafty, but he’s smooth and he’s a very confident pitcher. He’s a smart pitcher — he pitches as opposed to throws,” said Wallace.
As for the presence of major league scouts, “that’s not unusual,” said Wallace, adding “the bureau guys are stationed on the Island, and they get out and watch a lot of games.”
“It felt good to be back… and we kept it together and got the win so that was great,” Isherwood said after. A senior at Brooks Secondary in Powell River, Isherwood just returned from Orlando, Florida and his second 10-day stint this year with the Jr. Nats, where they played against a number of professional minor league teams.
“It’s a different game to get back to, but it’s great playing at home. It’s a young team this year,” he confirmed, “but they’re great teammates and I look forward to playing with them.”
IN GAME TWO North Shore went up 1-0 in the top of the fourth but the Royals countered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. The Twins scored one more in the top of the fifth but that would be as close as they’d come.
Starting pitcher Liam Joyce walked four, gave up two hits and a run and struck out three over his four innings of work. Nick Annau worked the fifth, and the Royals crafty little lefty with the big heart Yuki Takashashi worked the final two frames for his league-leading fourth save of the season.
Royals headed to mainland
“He’s a competitor,” Wallace chuckled.
Justin Dieleman had the key hit in that game — a timely two-run RBI standup double in the fourth inning.
“As a team we played two very solid games defensively and offensively, we out hit the Twins 9-5 in game two,” said Wallace, adding “we were good on Saturday, but we weren’t good enough on Sunday.”
ON SUNDAY against White Rock, the visiting Tritons took game one 4-1 and hung on to win game two 7-5 in a slugfest. The teams connected for nine hits each.
The weekend split lifts the Royals to 5-7 on the season for eighth in the league.
GAME ON: The Royals are on the Mainland this weekend for double headers against the Coquitlam Reds and North Delta Blue Jays, then back home May 12 against the Langley Blaze.
DIAMOND BITS: Retired MLB area scout Bob Smyth once coached the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto in Toronto. Votto recently inked a contract for $255 million over 10 years, making him the highest payed baseball player on the planet.
“His new contract pays him $57,000 per day, 365 days a year, for the next 10 years. Not bad for a kid from Canada,” chuckled Wallace.