It was another strong performance for the Save-On-Foods Parksville Royals as both the seniors and the bantams returned home from the Okanagan over the weekend with winning records. Now it’s time for locals to see the show.
The senior Royals competed in the 10-team Kelowna Invitational. They opened against the Edmonton Prospects and, despite a gallant effort, fell 5-1.
Brady Radcliffe pitched five strong innings and Jaxon Ackerman shut the door for two more but the boys in purple just couldn’t figure out the Prospects’ pitchers.
Following that loss, the Royals bounced right back, battling to a 4-3 win over the highly touted Okotoks Dawgs. Josh Laukkanen was stellar, pitching six innings of shut-out ball before the Dawgs got to him in the seventh. Shae Verral came on in relief and closed out the win.
Laukkanen also helped his cause with his bat, going 2-for-3 with a double. Tim Holyk and Kiran Carcary contributed the balance of the offense.
The senior Royals closed out the tournament with a 7-1 win over the Calgary Junior Dinos. Ryan Humphreys threw five shutout innings, striking out eight. Ethan Christensen pitched the final two innings, striking out three and allowing a run. Solid team offence prevailed, with Aden Richardson providing the long ball for Parksville.
“We are firing on all cylinders and getting a balanced attack from all aspects — hitting, pitching, and fielding.” said coach Frank Kaluzniak. “I am proud of our guys’ performance up to this point and we are coming together nicely as a team. We have made strides in the right direction to keep our momentum going into the season.”
Meanwhile, in Kamloops, the bantam Royals competed in the Best of the West showcase tournament. After dropping the opener 5-1 to the Langley Blaze, the Royals knocked off the rust in convincing fashion with a 14-1 victory against the Okotoks Dawgs. Anson McGorman pitched four innings, allowing a run and fanning eight Dawgs. Cameron Bell and Will Fox led the offence.
Next up was host Kamloops and the Royals kept right on rolling with rain-shortened, 13-2 victory in three innings. Ethan Dean provided all of the pitching the team would need for the victory with Bell, Nathan Underhill, and Elijah Oelke leading the offensive barrage.
The Royals concluded the tournament with a 13-0 win over Langley to finish with a record of 3-1 for the weekend. Starter Ellis Vugteveen allowed only three hits and struck out 12 Langley batters on the way to the win. The team offence was solid again with Oelke (3 for 3), Austin Walper (2 for 3) and Nash Donkersley (2 for 4) leading the way.
“Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do so I’m pretty pleased with the weekend,” said coach Wes Dieleman. “Great at-bats and solid defence.”
This coming Saturday, April 14, the senior Royals will be playing their first home game of the season against the Nanaimo Pirates at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Last year’s playoff silver medalists are currently 2-0 in the PBL.
— NEWS staff/Mike Parlow submission