Royals roll to season-opening win on road

Premier baseball league squad to open home season Saturday at Springwood Field

The Parksville Royals got their B.C. Premier Baseball League season off to a rousing start Saturday in Victoria, claiming a 3-2 season-opening win over the Victoria Eagles and earning a split of the road doubleheader.

The Royals (1-1) return this weekend to host Nanaimo in their home opener, a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday at Springwood Field in Parksville. They will be the first games of the season for the Pirates.

At Victoria’s Lambrick Park Saturday, the host Eagles (1-3) salvaged a doubleheader split against the Royals with a 6-1 victory in the late game. Victoria pitcher Jacob Potter hurled a no-hitter in the win.

“The Victoria Eagles are a very good team and organization; they should be one of the top three or four teams in the league,” Royals head coach Dave Wallace said. “To start off on the road with a win was very good for our guys. We’re pleased with the start.”

Royals starter Adam McKilliken was nearly as sharp in a complete-game victory in the opener. McKilliken carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh and final inning before the Eagles parlayed a couple of fielding miscues and a timely hit into two runs. But the hurler and his defence shut the door for the win.

“I was pleased, team-wise, with our focus in both games, and with our defensive play,” said Wallace. “That’s been our strength from last year to this year. We’ve minimized the physical mistakes so far, and hopefully that continues.”

Wallace said his squad, the youngest in the league, also got strong pitching performances in both games, with only six walks issued across the two contests.

“It’ll take ‘em a few games to start feeling comfortable, but the coaches were pleased with their effort and enthusiasm.

“It’s definitely something to build on.”