The Save-On-Foods Parksville Bantam Royals earned a spot in the BC Premier Baseball League provincials that will take place in Surrey, Aug. 9-12.
The Royals had to fight for their right to be in the provincials. At a wild-card game held at Winskill Park in Delta, they needed to get past the Delta Tigers to secure outright a place in the provincials, but they ended up losing 9-1.
Ellis Vugteveen started and went two innings, fanning six while giving up two runs on four hits. Ethan Dean took over and pitched three innings of relief, giving up three runs on four hits and striking out one.
It was a one-run game until the Tigers blew it open in the fifth. Nash Donkersley and Elijah Oelke would come in relief as well but were unable to cool the Tigers bats. Carter Hall, Owen Lagos, Owen Crouse, Anson McGorman and Kolby Wood would come up with hits but it was not enough.
The Royals faced off against the Coquitlam Reds next and again ended up with a 12-1 loss. McGorman would start on the mound giving up five runs on three hits before Nathan Underhill came in relief for the next four innings but the Reds got to him and added another seven runs. Will Fox, Austin Walper, Lagos and Donkersley would all provide some offense with singles but the Reds were just too good that day.
The next day, the Royals took on PBL rivals the Victoria Mariners and this time posted a 9-5 win. Walper took the mound first and was outstanding, pitching a complete game. In seven innings of work, Walper gave up five runs on six hits while striking out five Mariners.
The Royals bats finally came alive. Leading the way was Hall going 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple, with one RBI. Will Roberts, Underhill and Vugteveen would all chip in two singles each. Wood would go 2-for-3 with two doubles and Walper would help his cause with a triple.
The Royals last game was against none other than the Coquitlam Reds. Although finishing higher in league standings, the Royals were never able to beat the Reds.
In order to secure a spot in the Provincials the Royals needed to solve their nemesis. Dean started for the Royals and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out eight hitters. The Royals would jump out to a commanding 10-4 lead in the fifth and coach Wes Dieleman called on Vugteveen to come to relieve Dean.
Vugteveen pitched the final two innings giving up four runs on four hits with two strike outs.
The Reds would just not concede to the Royals. The Reds closed the gap, but the Royals held on to beat Coquitlam 10-9 and punched their ticket to the PBL provincials.
“We accomplished what we set out to do this weekend. Everyone contributed,” said Dieleman. “We look forward to competing in provincials.”
— Royals report