The 18th annual BC’s Best Baseball Tournament is in the books, and as always, the players didn’t disappoint, as some 200 of them took to the fields up at Springwood Park in search of that special zone.
Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals opened the 11-team tourney Friday afternoon with a plucky 4-3 win in eight innings over the North Delta Blue Jays.
“We played quite well that game,” Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace surmised after. Nic Annau got the start and worked six solid innings. Yuki Takahashi pitched the last two to pick up the win.
Back at it that evening against the Okotoks Dawgs, the two teams were knotted 7-7 after six innings “and then they hit the ball and we made a couple mistakes,” and the Dawgs scored seven unanswered runs in the top of the seventh to win 14-7.
In game three Saturday morning, Bryan Pawlina pitched six strong innings and the Royals beat the Vancouver Cannons 2-1. It was the right hander’s second start of the season and first in a month.
“He’s a senior that’s going to be counted on to throw a lot of innings for us (but) he’s been dealing with some inflammation in his shoulder,” said Wallace.
Mackenzie Parlow, Clarke Ohman, TR Doty and Liam Joyce, he added, “all swung the bat very well.”
Saturday evening’s game against the Victoria Eagles, said Wallace, “was a nail biter … we came out on the short end of a 23-4 score … it wasn’t pretty,” he chuckled.
“The first three games we played quite well,” said the veteran coach, “but the fourth game was the other end of the spectrum.
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong. We did not play well — we were very weak in all aspects of the game,” he said.
“But you put it behind you and move on to the next game. We’ve got a young team this year,” the always pragmatic Wallace pointed out, adding, “we won (the tournament) last year (for the first time in history) but we knew we weren’t going to be winning it this year.”
The Royals closed out the tourney Sunday with a 4-3 loss to the White Rock Tritons.
It was a very well played game though — we bounced back from a very poor performance and finished the tournament with real a solid game.”
Monday’s playoffs started out with rain and grounds crews scrambling. Start times had to be delayed and both morning semi-final games were moved from Inouye-Wallace Field to Rotary Field where the Dawgs beat the Mariners 4-3 in eight innings in one semi . The Abbotsford Cardinals beat the Victoria Eagles 3-1 in the other.
In Monday’s final, moved back to Inouye/Wallace Field, Abby out-duelled Okotoks 1-0.
“There were some very well-played games over the weekend,” confirmed Wallace. “The teams were all very competitive.”
“The tournament was great again this year,” Royals’ General Manager Scott Rodway confirmed, adding, “the caliber of play was up to the caliber we’ve seen in the past.”
In the bigger picture, the tournament continues to be a big pre-tourist season boost to local businesses as evident by the 80-plus hotel rooms rented out, for starters.
“It has a positive economic impact on the community, no question.”
Royals’ ace Clayton Isherwood was away with the Canadian junior national team bound for the Dominican Republic and the team’s annual spring training and multiple games against Central American players from the MLB academies.
The Royals resume BC Premier Baseball League league play this Sunday with a double header in Victoria against the Mariners, and return home to Springwood Park the following Wednesday (June 1) to take on the Nanaimo Pirates (6 p.m. start) in what will be their only home game for a couple weeks.