How sweet it is.
Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals still have some makeup games to play this week, but two big wins against the league’s second place team on Saturday secured them the baseball club’s first home playoff series in its 17 year history.
The Royals were on the Mainland last weekend looking to get in five games and close out their BCPBL 48-game regular season.
The Royals began the week in Victoria last Thursday with a 3-1 loss to the Eagles missing six starters.
Saturday’s double header against the Vancouver Cannons and a make up game against the North Delta Blue Jays, was a wash.
“It poured all day,” Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace said Monday. “Unplayable field.”
On Sunday in Coquitlam, the Royals swept the Reds 4-0 and 3-2 in 11 innings.
“Coquitlam did an outstanding job getting their field ready,” said Wallace, pointing out, “they spent five hours working on it …57 shop vac buckets of water they took off that field, over 500 gallons of water, and the field was quite playable. They did a great job.”
Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood picked up his sixth straight win on the hill in game one, pitching a complete game three-hitter with five strikeouts and improve his league-leading ERA to a ridiculous 0.79.
The pinstripes scored all four of their runs in a fifth inning uprising. Mackenzie Parlow drove in two runners and Jordan Dugray had an RBI single.
In game two, the Reds got one across in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game 1-1 and force extras. Starting pitcher Mitch Powelson deserved a better fate as his teammates turned in a season-high eight errors behind him.
“He pitched extremely well. He pitched out of jams …” said Wallace.
Marcus Drewry pitched four innings in relief to pick up the win.
Offensively, Junior Royal call-up Nic Wassbauer stroked a two out single to get on. Devon Heard scored him next at bat with a double, but Coquitlam tied it up in the bottom of the ninth with an unearned run.
The Royals won it in the 11th when Wassbauer, playing his first game in the PBL and platooned at DH, walked, then scored the winning run off a double off the bat of another Jr. call up, Nic Annau.
Drewry shut down the side in the bottom of the inning — two strikeouts and a high deep fly ball to centre field — to nail down the win.
“It was an important win; they both were,” said Wallace.
What makes the sweep even more impressive is that the Reds were gunning for the sweep and a shot at first overall.
As of Monday morning, nine of the league’s 13 teams still had games to play, but whatever happens, Nanaimo finishes first overall, Coquitlam second, and the Royals can finish no worse than fourth.
The Royals will get their three makeup games in sometime this week. The BCPBL playoffs get underway Saturday.
That series is a best of three against an opponent yet to be determined, with two games on Saturday and game three if necessary Sunday at Springwood Park.