The Quality Foods Parksville Royals will be looking for some home cooking this weekend with four games slated over the weekend at Inouye-Wallace Field.
Starting on Saturday at 12:15 p.m., the Royals are hosting the Abbotsford Cardinals in a double header, with game two taking place at 2:45 p.m. The Royals are back at it on Sunday for another double-header, this time playing host to the Victoria Mariners at noon and 2:30.
Pitching coach Jim Seredick will be looking for his pitching staff to find the strike zone a little more this weekend compared to last, where the Royals lost two games to the Victoria Eagles.
“We’re hoping to see them improve with consistency,” Seredick said. “They weren’t bad last weekend, we just ran into some trouble that could have been avoided. We’ve got a ways to go this season and if we can make a habit out of pounding the strike zone, like I know we can, we should be just fine.”
The Royals have a good chunk of last season’s team still intact and on the roster this season, led by locals Liam Ballance and Josh Anderson. Ballance, from Errington, and Anderson, from Nanoose Bay, will be leaned on from the younger players on the team for some leadership and it’s something that Anderson knows is important through the season.
“It’s definitely something we’re taking on,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping to see more positive energy out of the older guys on the team, passing it onto the younger players we’ve got here. We’ll do what we can to show them how to play the game the right way and hopefully all of that will help us win some more games this year.”
Both Anderson and Ballance were a part of the Royals team that struggled to win games last season but know that things can be different this time around with the older group in place.
“Things are looking pretty good,” Ballance said. “The team looks better than it did last year. We’ve got a lot of returning players and a good mix of young kids too. Going through last year, you learn a lot and get better. We get to come back and try to learn from the mistakes that happened last year and try not to make too many this time around.”
Both Ballance and Anderson grew up watching the Royals and being the only two local players on the roster means a lot to both players.
“It does mean a lot for sure,” Anderson said. “When you tell people that you play for the Royals and you’re from the area, they realize the level of baseball that you’re playing at. It’s a good feeling to be able to say that.”
It’s something that means a lot but also has the potential to mean that much more should the Royals win more games this season and make the playoffs.
“That’s the goal, make the playoffs,” Ballance said. “Growing up here and coming to watch these guys play, guys like Kevin Biro, it was pretty cool as a kid. Now it’s our turn to be those guys and try to bring some success to this team.”