Parksville Royals pitcher Brayden Baker tosses a strike against a Coquitlam Reds player during their doubleheader series on Saturday at Springwood Park. — Michael Briones photo

Senior Royals end weekend with 3-1 record

After seeing red in first game, Parksville bounce back strong

The Save-on-Foods Parksville Royals saw red after getting blanked 5-0 in their first game against Coquitlam Reds at home on Saturday. It was the first shutout loss of the season for the Royals.

Following that defeat, the Royals rebounded strong to win their next three games.

Against the Reds in the first game on Saturday, pitcher Brayden Baker started for the Royals. In five innings of work on the mound, Baker struck out nine but unfortunately it wasn’t enough as he also gave up six hits and four earned runs to record his first loss of the season. The Royals’ bats, which have been hot recently, went cold while posting just five hits. Jaxon Ackerman came in to throw two clean innings of relief and Benny Munger chipped in with two hits.

In the second game later in the afternoon, the Royals found themselves trailing 9-4 in the top of the fourth inning and had to claw their way back to scrape an 11-9 win to earn a split in the doubleheader series. Ryan Humphrey couldn’t find his control, giving up nine runs while striking out eight batters. He was relieved by Ethan Christensen in the fourth inning, who pitched well to keep the Royals in contention.

In 3 2/3 innings of play, Christensen gave up three hits but didn’t allow any more runs to eventually earn the win. The Royals batters came alive in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs with two outs to even things up 9-9. They added two more runs in the fifth and the sixth for the win.

Leading the hit parade was Brodie Comerford, who went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run, and Connor Hall, who went 2-for-2. Josh Laukkanen had a triple, going 1-for-2 with three RBIs.

The next day, the Royals took on the UBC Thunder. Brady Radcliffe had a dominant performance on the mound in the opener to lead the Royals to a 9-0 win, his fifth of the season. Radcliffe, in six innings, gave up four hits, no runs and struck out seven, to post an ERA of 1.31.

Leading the charge at the plate were Spencer Walton and Jake Nikirk, who each had two RBIs, with Aden Richardson and Ben Munger each batting in a run. Richardson and Radcliffe had two stolen bases.

In the second game, the Royals had a tougher outing but secured a 3-2 win in an extra inning of play.

After leading 1-0 in the second period, the Royals found themselves trailing 2-1 after giving up two runs in the top of the sixth. In the seventh inning, the Royals bats came up with clutch hitting to place two runners in scoring position. Brayden Baker’s single got the Royals the tying run, bringing Connor Hall home to make it 2-2.

In the top of the eighth, Shae Verral, who took over from Jacob Volkers in the last two innings, had three easy put outs and the Royals took advantage in the bottom of the eighth. Kiran Carry led off with a double and was later batted in by Munger for the winning run.

Volkers tossed six solid innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs while striking out six. Verral took the win when he shut out the Thunder for two innings, giving up one hit and striking one.

The Royals are now 11-3 on the season and are second in the BCPBL standings.

This coming weekend, the Royals take on North Shore Twins at Parkgate Park on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Then on Sunday, they take on the UBC Thunder at UBC, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Junior Royals struggle on the road

The Save-On-Foods Parksville Junior Royals were in North Delta and White Rock over the weekend and couldn’t pick up a ‘W,’ although not for lack of effort. In game one at Mackie Park in North Delta, the Royals were led by pitcher Nathan Lagos who put in strong performances on the hill and at the dish. Lagos pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs and he went 3-for-3 with a double, two stolen bases and an RBI at the plate. The Royals carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh but couldn’t hold back North Delta, which came from behind to win 3-2.

In game two North Delta roughed up starter Travis Frank early, scoring four runs in the first inning. Jacob Stockton led the Royals at the plate with two hits, including a triple and two RBI, driving home Lagos each time. Lagos continued his daring on the basepaths with two more steals.

In the end it wasn’t enough as North Delta won 7-2.

The Royals next took the field on Sunday morning and it was apparently too early as host White Rock mercied the Parksville crew 10-0 in five innings. Looking for redemption in the finale, the Royals led early and then found themselves in a tie game after six innings.

Starter Briar Pilon scattered six hits over six innings and allowed three earned runs. In the top of the seventh, Conner McNamee promptly got on base, stole third base, and Jordan Dennis singled to score McNamee and give the Royals the lead. The bullpen couldn’t hold it, however, and the Royals lost 5-4 in another heartbreaker.

Bantam Royals split it up

The Save-On-Foods Parksville Bantam Royals visited the Abbotsford Cardinals on Saturday and split the double-header. Game one pitcher Ethan Dean picked up the win, allowing two earned runs as the Royals were victorious by a score of 4-2. In game two, Abbotsford put six runs on the board early against starter Austin Walper and that would turn out to be enough as the Cardinals won the game 6-1.

Back home at Springwood Park Sunday, the Royals faced off against White Rock. The teams started the day tied for second place in the standings and had split their previous double-header two weeks ago in White Rock. White Rock came out swinging the bats and led 5-0 after three innings.

The Bantams got things going in the fourth as Nathan Underhill hit his first home run of the year to put the home side on the board. Underhill, Kolby Wood, and Will Roberts came on to throw 5 1/3 shut-out innings in relief of starter Ellis Vugteveen who allowed four runs on four hits over 2 2/3 innings. And the Royals just kept coming. Singles by Nash Donkersley and Cameron Bell, along with a single and a double from Owen Crouse, were the difference as the Royals clawed back into this one and tied the game after seven regulation innings.

Pitcher Will Roberts held White Rock off the scoresheet in the top of the eighth and then took matters into his own hands with a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Final score was 7-5 for the Royals.

In game two, White Rock exacted revenge with a definitive 10-0 win over the Royals. Starter Anson McGorman struck out six over four innings of work and allowed six runs on five hits. The bullpen didn’t fare any better as the game ended on the mercy rule an inning later.

“Lots of positives this weekend but also lots of things to work on,” said coach Wes Dieleman. “We will continue to work hard to improve in those areas. A couple of key moments in game three this weekend. Both Nathan Underhill and Will Roberts came on in relief of Ellis Vugteveen.

Not only were they instrumental on the mound but also at the plate.”

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