The Save-On-Foods Parksville Royals impressed local fans when they swept their doubleheader against the Mid-Island Pirates of Nanaimo in their first home game of the season last Saturday.
It was another strong weekend for the senior Royals, who opened with a 10-2 win and then secured the sweep with a closely fought 5-4 decision. The Royals are now 4-0 in the BC Premier Baseball League.
Despite dark clouds hovering over the Springwood field on Saturday, there was a good turnout for the first home game of the season. Clyde Inouye, the co-founder of the Parksville Royals and also of the BCPBL, tossed the first pitch to mark the occasion.
Brady Radcliffe started for the Royals on the mound. Despite the one bad inning that saw the Pirates tie the game 2-2, Radcliffe turned in five strong innings, allowing only four hits. Shae Verall came in relief but was hardly tested in the last two innings, changing speeds and using his defence to hold the Pirates hitless.
The Royals’ offence stretched the Pirates’ pitching to the limit as they loaded the bases a couple of times and were always threatening to score. Radcliffe helped his cause by posting two hits of his own while Kiran Carcary continued with his clutch start to the season with another three-RBI performance.
The second match was much tighter with the game tied 2-2 after five innings. The Royals were able to surge ahead in the bottom of the sixth with three runs. The Pirates bounced back with two runs to start the seventh but Ethan Christensen in his third inning of relief was able to work out the jam and secure the 5-4 win for the Royals. Starter Ryan Humphreys pitched four innings allowing a run on one hit.
The big hit in the sixth came from Jake Nikirk whose double drove in two Parksville runs. Aden Richardson and Radcliffe both went 2-for-3 in the game.
“This was a good test for the team,” said Royals coach Frank Kaluzniak. “That second game, both sides battled hard and we had to play smart to come up with the win. Each game we are getting a little stronger.”
This coming weekend, the senior Royals will head to South Surrey to face the White Rock Tritons April 22. First game is at 1 p.m. and the second is at 3:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, down in Victoria, the Junior Royals opened their season splitting their doubleheader with the Mariners.
The Mariners took the first game 6-1 on the strength of a solid all-around game especially their pitching. Laine Rogers smacked the only Parksville hit in the contest and Nolan Macdonald drove in Jacob Stockton to score the only Parksville run. Nathan Lagos took the loss with five earned runs over four innings pitched.
The Royals roared back in the second game pounding out 15 hits to score 10 runs on the way to a 10-3 victory. Macdonald got the win, allowing two earned runs over 4 and 1/3 innings. Leadoff man Jordan Dennis was a perfect 3-for-3 with a sac bunt and Max Kolopenuk went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI to lead the offense. Jacob Stockton must’ve been channelling Rickey Henderson as he stole five bases on the day including twice in the third.
Coach Chad Schultz was happy with the team’s effort.
“Starting the season in someone else’s home park can be challenging and we may have been a little nervous, trying too hard, in the first game,” said Schultz. “As the afternoon went on I felt we really hit our stride and played with confidence.”
This coming weekend the junior Royals will head back to Victoria for a doubleheader against junior Eagles on April 21. The first game is at 12 p.m. and the second game is at 2:30 p.m.