So what does one of the top teams in the BC Premier Baseball League do when they face one of the best pitchers in the BCPBL?
If you’re the Langley Blaze and you’re on the road facing Parksville Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood, “you play the same way you always do — you play aggressive baseball,” and, on Saturday anyway, you hammer out a 5-3 win in game one, and then, just because you can, you roll out the artillery in game two and sweep the double header in a 12-1 final.
Things got off to a rough start for the young Royals at Inouye-Wallace Field at Springwood Park in Parksville last Saturday when Langley’s first batter of the game took the third pitch yard over left centre for the leadoff homer.
“They’re a tough team to beat,” Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace said. “They hit the ball well, they move the base-runners and they play aggressive defensively too. They took advantage of our mental mistakes and when you’re one of the top teams in the league, which they are, that’s what you do.”
Not lost on those that turned out to take in the double header, was the effort of the young Royals.
“We played well in game one,” said Wallace.
Langley was leading that one 2-0, and the Royals cut it to 2-1 and Rob Vlaj stroked a two out single to right field in the bottom of the third and Langley’s right fielder, junior national team invitee Mitchell Robinson, gunned down Mackenzie Parlow at home plate who was on his horse from second.
“Just an outstanding play,” said Wallace. “The throw was perfect — it had to be. That was the turning point of the game.”
The Blaze struck again in the top of the fourth with their first of three unearned runs on the game to go up 3-1.
The Blaze tacked on two more in the 6th. The Royals fought back with a run in the bottom of the 6th and 7th -- the pinstripes had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th with nobody out but couldn’t solve the Langley closer.
It was Isherwood’s second loss of the season, striking out seven and walking one.
“Clayton pitched well enough for us to win, we just didn’t give him the support he needed,” said Wallace, pointing out “they only outhit us 6-5, but we made four errors and they made one.”
Clarke Ohman was 2-for-3 at the dish.
Home grown player Nic Annau scored a run, but his biggest contribution came in the top of the third inning when he showed great reaction to stretch out and stop a screamer down the third base line on the one-hop that had double written all over it. He then gunned out the base runner for the third out.
“That was the TSN highlight of the night,” said Wallace. “It was a great play.”
Annau is in his first year with the senior Royals — he pitches he plays third base, “and he’s one of the young guys getting lots of experience and getting better every time they step on the field,” said the longtime skipper.
The two losses leaves the Royals at 6-13 on the season and sitting 11th in the 13-team high performance league.
The Royals are home as hosts of the long-running BC’s Best baseball tournament this weekend.