Two down, 46 to go.
Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals kickstarted their B.C. Premier Baseball League regular season at home on Saturday with a 10-0 dismantling of the defending playoff champion Victoria Mariners. The Ms hung on for a 3-2 win in game two of the double header to salvage the week one split, but the locals made it clear they mean business.
In the opener, the Royals’ broke open a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when Deep Bay senior Kevin Biro bashed a towering two-run shot over the left field fence, bringing in Ashton Martin who walked to start the at-bat. Qualicum Beach’s Matt Ney singled and later scored off an error for a 3-0 lead. The pinstripes never looked back as they rocked Ms’ senior Cole Holt, he of the sidearm submarine delivery, for 10 hits.
The Royals added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth — Ney led that inning off with a standup double — and closed out the mercy win with four more run in the bottom of the sixth.
Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood pitched six innings of shutout ball, giving up two singles, walking three and striking out nine.
“Clayton was solid for opening day — he didn’t disappoint,” said Royals’ head coach Dave Wallace.
Isherwood, from Texada Island, was in Florida with the junior national team for a week at the end of February.
“A real solid performance — I was really pleased with our hitting,” said Wallace, adding, “ten hits will keep you in a lot of games, especially with five extra base hits. We had three doubles, a triple and a home run, plus we were sound defensively.”
That two locals led the charge offensively was particularly cool for the hometown fans that turned out. Ney finished the game with three hits (two of those doubles), three RBIs and three runs scored. Biro, who was beaned his other three times at the plate, scored twice. Ashton Martin also scored twice.
“It was payback — he hit me my first at bat,” Biro said of his club’s first regular season homer.
The Royals, who were also aggressive on the base pads Saturday, stranded nine base-runners in game one, the Ms four.
Whiskey Creek’s Mitch Powelson got the start on the hill in game two, and Marcus Drewry came in in relief. The game was tied 0-0 through three innings and the Mariners’ scored all three of their runs in the fourth — two of them unearned.
Ney was 1-for-3 in game two with a double. Biro was 2-for-3 with two doubles. Rob Vlaj and Bryan Pawlina had two hits apiece and accounted for the Royals’ scoring.
“Another solid performance at the plate … and our pitching was well enough to win,” said Wallace, adding, “we made a couple mistakes and gave up some unearned runs and that was the difference.
In game two the Royals left seven runners on and the Ms 10. Parksville played errorless ball in the opening game, and committed three in the game two.
“Every guy on our team that played Saturday got at least one hit — most got multiple hits,” said Wallace. “It was a good start to the season — I was really pleased with the whole team, and Matt and Kevin, they both had really good days, which raises the expectations for the team … it’s a long season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Saturday’s home opener was played out in cool but clear conditions. The field was in fantastic shape; Parksville Quality Foods manager Guy Seguin threw the ceremonial first pitch, and Kwalikum Secondary School senior Jill Cameron sang the national anthem.
The Royals are home up at Springwood Park on Sunday against the Victoria Eagles for a double dip. Game one goes at 12:15 p.m.
The juniors open their regular season at home on Saturday (12:15 p.m. start) when they host the Jr. Eagles.