After opening their first trip to the B.C. Premier Baseball League championships with a heartbreaking loss Thursday night, the Quality Foods Parksville Royals roared back with a vengeance on day two at Mundy Park in Coquitlam.
Cam MacNeil belted a grand slam home run as the Royals battered the Abbotsford Cardinals 12-5 in the first of two round-robin games Friday morning, and Robinder Dhut twirled a four-hit complete game with nine strikeouts as Parksville topped the Langley Blaze later in the afternoon.
The Royals will take a 2-1 tournament record into their round-robin finale against the host Coquitlam Reds Saturday, July 22, at 4 p.m. Langley and the North Shore Twins, who rallied in the final two innings Thursday to edge the Royals 6-5, also have 2-1 records in the five-team tourney. Langley and North Shore face each other Saturday in their final round-robin game.
Royals 12, Cardinals 5
MacNeil’s grand slam capped a seven-run fourth inning that basically put the game away after Abbotsford (1-2) had closed to 5-4 with two runs in the top of the inning.
Shane Rogers and winning pitcher Jayden Marsh each had two hits, Josh Laukkanen and Zach Waddington drove in two runs apiece, and Spencer Walton walked in all four of his plate appearances and scored twice in the win.
The Royals were outhit 12-9, but took advantage of 10 free passes issued by three Cardinals pitchers. Marsh, one of the league’s top pitchers in the regular season, was not at his sharpest. But he managed to limit the damage while allowing eight hits and three walks in four innings, and was rested after MacNeil’s homer pushed the Royals’ lead to 12-4.
Nicholas Yu came on to pitch two innings, allowing one run, and Jacob Volkers, called up from the Junior Royals program for the tournament, struck out two in a perfect seventh inning.
Royals 9, Blaze 1
Parksville’s Kieran Bowles went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Dhut came within an out of a shutout as the Royals handed Langley (2-1) its first loss of the postseason.
With two out in the seventh, Dhut hit Tommy Kreitz with a pitch. Krietz took second on a wild pitch and scored on Ryan Beitel’s two-out single. Dhut then ended it with a foul pop-up to the catcher.
Parksville had broken open a tight game with a six-run outburst in the top of the seventh after carrying a 3-0 lead into the frame. The Royals outhit the Blaze 9-4 and coaxed six walks from four Langley pitchers.
MacNeill singled twice and drove in two more runs to bring his tournament-leading RBI total to eight. Marsh doubled and drove in three runs, and Shane Rogers doubled, walked twice and scored three times.
Twins 6, Royals 5
In Thursday’s tournament opener, the Royals fell 6-5 to the North Shore Twins after leading the game 5-2 through three innings.
The Twins, the league’s top team in the regular season, scored the tying run in the bottom of the sixth inning and got the winning run in the bottom of the seventh behind a leadoff double and Thomas Neal’s walk-off, one-out RBI single.
Brayden Baker started Thursday’s contest for the Royals and went six innings. He started strong but eventually succumbed to the Twins’ high-powered offence, surrendering two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth before handing off a 5-5 game to reliever Finn Martin in the seventh.
Robert Mackie greeted Martin with a leadoff double. After he moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, Matteo Porcellato was intentionally walked to set up a potential double play. But Neal found a hole to push the winning hit through as Mackie came in to end the game.
Baker allowed eight hits and five walks, with two strikeouts.
The Royals got all of their offence in a five-run outburst as they batted around in the top of the third inning. Thomas Green’s bases-loaded, two-run single was the big blow. Zach Waddington also had an RBI single, Dylan Kirby turned a short hit to the pitcher into an RBI infield single, and Nicholas Yu drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in another run.