Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals have been busy, and playing five games in five days should boost the learning curve.
On Wednesday in Nanaimo the young Royals battled the BC Premier League’s first place Nanaimo Pirates to a 2-1 loss that took nine innings to decide.
Nanaimo, the defending league champs, scored a run in the bottom of the first inning off three singles.
The Royals tied it up in the top of the third, when Keller Anderson scored from second (after a leadoff double) on a single by Andrew Evernden.
The two teams remained deadlocked through eight-and-a-half innings, when Nanaimo pushed one across in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt and a single.
“It was a very good game, a very entertaining game,” Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace said after, adding, “we made some very good defensive plays and our pitchers were very good; our pitchers responded when they needed to make good pitches.
“We didn’t run the bases very well and we didn’t swing the bats as consistently as we need to to have success, but again, it was a very entertaining game.”
The Royals threw four pitchers at the front-running Pirates Wednesday night — Ballenas Secondary School exchange student Yuki Takahashi got his first start of the season and worked the first two innings, followed by Nick Annau, Everndon and Anderson.
“They all did a very good job for us,” said Wallace.
The Q-crew spent last weekend on the Mainland for back to back double headers.
In Coquitlam on Saturday against the Reds, Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood was in fine form as he struck out a season-high 11 batters and scattered three hits to pick up his second straight complete game win of the campaign in a 4-0 game one final.
Scoreless through four, the Royals erupted for four unanswered runs in the top of the fifth. Sam Visona, Mackenzie Parlow, Rob Vlaj and Liam Joyce all had RBIs.
In game two, the Royals gave up three in the bottom of the second inning and came up on the short end of a 3-2 final.
Things didn’t get any easier for the pinstripes on Sunday in North Delta as they were blasted 12-2 in the opener, then just missed the split losing a slugfest game two, 8-7.
“We were horrible in the first game, and in game two we took a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh … we gained a lot of experience, let’s put it that way,” Wallace chuckled, “in how hard it is to preserve leads and to get the win, especially on the road.”
The Royals trailed that game 2-0 after three, then scored two in the top of the fourth to tie it. The Blue Jays went up 4-2 in the bottom of that innings.
The Royals generated four runs in the top of the fifth to go up 6-4, tacked on another run in the seventh to go up 7-4, but the ‘Jays struck for four runs in the bottom of the inning to steal the win.
“We had chances to win, but we didn’t execute when we needed to.
“Our inexperienced showed, but, hey, they’re learning how to compete at this level and it was a good experience for them,” said Wallace, pointing out that on Wednesday, “we competed with the top team in the league for nine innings.
The 5-12 Royals are home at Inouye-Wallace Field Saturday for a double header against the defending BCPBL champions Langley Blaze, currently sitting second in the standings at 12-4. Game one goes at 12:15 p.m. with Isherwood getting the start.
A reminder that the 18th annual BC’s Best baseball tournament takes over Springwood Park in Parksville on the May long weekend.
Eleven baseball teams from the Island and mainland take to the field for the Premier Baseball League’s longest-running tournament.