The Save-On-Foods Parksville Royals closed out the season with a fifth-place finish at the B.C. Premier Baseball League Championships in Langley, July 30-Aug. 1.
The Royals advanced to the semifinals after scoring wins against two formidable opponents, 3-2 over the North Delta Blue Jays and 2-0 over the Victoria Mariners.
Against one of the favourites, the Blue Jays, who had a regular season record of 19-7, the Royals had something to prove.
Starter Seth Gurr went six and a third innings, striking out eight and walking one to earn the victory. Gurr had a fantastic season as he struck out 59 batters over 33 innings. His performance drew the attention of the scouts in attendance, according the Royals GM Mike Parlow. Anson McGorman came on in relief to earn the save.
The Royals dropped a 5-1 decision in their next game against the Langley Blaze, the eventual winners of the tournament. To secure a spot in the semis, the Royals needed to be sharp against Island rivals Victoria.
It was scoreless going into the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs and Liam McNamee on base, Tyler Kolopenuk crushed a double to left field and put the Royals on the board. Then leadoff man Breydan Riecker, who battled through a full count, sent the seventh pitch screaming into right field for a double of his own and sent Kolopenuk home to make the score 2-0.
That was all the offensive support that starter McGorman would need. He was dominant, blanking the Mariners with a 90-plus mph fastball, a plus curveball, and a nasty changeup. He struck out 12 and walked zero, throwing 97 pitches for the shutout victory.
For the season, McGorman was just as impressive, striking out 44 batters against just four walks in 23 and a third innings of work. Next up for Parksville’s McGorman is the junior national team tryout in Ajax, Ont., where he’ll vie for a spot on Canada’s pitching staff.
The semifinal matchup was with yet another Island team, the Victoria Eagles, winners of Pool C. The Royals bats came out strong and were up 6-2 after five innings but squandered the lead in the sixth inning when the Eagles struck for five runs to take the lead for good.
Trevor Nicoll and Tyler Kolopenuk led the hit parade with two apiece. Nicoll and McGorman each picked up two RBIs. The defence was solid for both squads with no errors recorded.
Starter Ethan Dean hung tough and kept Parksville in the lead until the sixth inning.
“The boys played their hearts out this weekend and left it all on the field. I couldn’t ask for any more,” said coach Frank Kaluzniak.
The Royals will now take a break until Sept. 7 when the fall season starts.
“Fall ball is seven weeks long and we use it to see what we’ve got for next season, who’s moving up and who’s moving on,” said Parlow. “Most of the roster spots for the 2022 senior team will be decided by the middle of October. For the junior team and the two bantam teams, it will take a little longer and the final rosters won’t be nailed down til late February or early March.”
Interested players between Grades 8 and 12 can register online for Royals fall ball on the Royals website at: http://parksvilleroyals.pointstreaksites.com/view/parksvilleroyals/organization/baseball-programs/2021-fall-ball
— NEWS Staff