Short-bench Royals struggle in heat

Between grad and heat, local baseball team wins one of four on mainland weekend

Liam Janzen and the Quality Foods Parksville Royals are home to host the Victoria Eagles for a double-header tomorrow (Canada Day) at Inouye-Wallace Field in Parksville at noon.

The Quality Foods Parksville Royals had a much smaller roster and were in tough this past weekend on the mainland taking on the Abbotsford Cardinals and Langley Blaze.

With their senior players attending graduation ceremonies, the Royals were left short handed for their four weekend games, coming away with a 2-0 win over the Abbotsford Cardinals while dropping the three remaining games.

Pitcher Owen Kelly went the distance in the Royals victory, throwing seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out four batters while giving up just six hits in the game. Third baseman Liam Janzen, from Courtenay, drove in the two runs.

“We had a good weekend,” head coach Dave Wallace said. “Considering how short handed we were, I thought the boys handled it very well. They got to play lots of baseball over the weekend and they kept it competitive in three out of our four games. That last game, you could see the fatigue really setting in. It’s tough being short handed, add in how hot it was and it made it that much more difficult. But I thought they handled it all very well.”

The Royals now sit with a record of 7-25 and will have to win their share of remaining games in the season if they hope to crack the playoffs. With just 12 games left on the schedule, it’s crunch time for the Royals.

“We’ve got to win, plain and simple,” Wallace said. “We’ve been close in lots of games this year and we just need to take it to that next level. We need to be the ones that come out of those close games with the wins, not the other teams. If we can scrape together some wins coupled with losses for the teams ahead of us, we can still move up in the standings. A five game swing will take us from sitting at the bottom of the league to being in eighth place. I don’t think it’s a stretch but we’re going to have to work hard to make it happen.”

Canada Day will see the Royals back in action at home in Parksville as they’ll play host to the second place Victoria Eagles. It’s going to be another tough test, as Victoria comes in winners of their last two games and has a record of 25-12 on the season. The Royals have their work cut out for them but coach Wallace feels his team can make a game out of it.

“They’re a good team,” Wallace said. “They’ve won 25 games so far this season and they’ve been the team on the other end of those close games we’ve been talking about. If we can start off on the right foot against a team like the Eagles, that will go a long way in giving us a shot of confidence that we could really use.”

Game one is slated to start at noon on Canada Day (Wednesday) while game two is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. start time at Inouye-Wallace Field at Springwood Park.

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