Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
April 15, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – If Saturday’s scores are any indication, the Parksville Royals may be a BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) team to reckon with this season, as they came into Joe Stephenson Field at Lambrick Park and swept a pair of games from the Victoria Eagles, shutting out the home squad by scores of 6-0 and 12-0 in BCPBL Week 3 action in Victoria.
The wins move the Royals early season record to 3-1 and into a tie for first in the BCPBL with the North Shore Twins and Victoria Mariners. While it is early in the season, the three Royals wins thus far are almost halfway to their total number of wins in 2016 when the Royals finished at 7-37 and dead last in the 12 team BCPBL.
This year’s squad, which swept a pair of exhibition games here in Victoria on the March 24th weekend and then split their opening series with the always tough Langley Blaze last weekend, looks to be vastly improved over that 2016 team, thanks in part to the influx of a number of players from the Nanaimo Pirates program who chose to come to Parksville this year when the Pirates transitioned into the Mid-Island Pirates.
That improved strength was in evidence most notably on defence in game one Saturday when the Royals turned three double plays to effectively negate the majority of the Eagles eight hits and keep the Eagles from ever threatening to score, advancing runners to third on just two occasions in the entire game.
Parksville also took their time to get going in this one, as the game was close early, with Eagles starter Noah Doorschot and Parksville starter Brayden Baker taking a scoreless tie into the fourth inning.
The Royals would break the ice with a run in the fourth on the strength of singles from Josh Laukkanen and Jayden Marsh and would then open things up in the top of the fifth, scoring four more runs, two of which came courtesy of a pair of Eagles errors and the other two courtesy of an RBI-single from Ben Swing and a bases-loaded walk to Kiran Carcary by Eagles reliever Matt Collett, who replaced Doorschot midway through the inning.
The Royals would add one more in the top of the seventh, easily securing the win for Baker, who would pitch five complete innings, giving up seven hits, walking none and striking out four. Marsh would pitch two innings of relief, giving up just a single hit and striking out a pair. Offensively for the Royals, Swing led the way with a pair of hits, a pair of runs scored and an RBI.
For the Eagles, at the plate, Parker Swinton had three of the Eagles eight hits. Doorschot takes the loss on the mound, going four complete and giving up five runs on six hits, while striking out four. Matt Collett (2.1 IP, 1R, 1H, 3BB, 4K) and Quinten Davidoff (0.2 IP, 2K) saw work in relief.
In game two, things went sour for the Eagles very quickly, as starter Jacob Butler hit the first three batters he faced and then gave up a 2-RBI double to Parksville’s Thomas Green before leaving the game with an injury and being replaced by Hayden Wilcox.
Wilcox did well to get out of the inning with no further damage, but he would surrender a bases-loaded walk for a run in the second and then get touched-up for another five runs in the third (one of which was unearned), as Parksville used another big inning to jump into a substantial lead over the Eagles.
Parksville would continue to score in the fourth, loading the bases on Eagle reliever Aden Richardson and then getting a 2-RBI single from Zach Waddington off Quinten Davidoff, the Eagles fourth pitcher of the day and scoring again later in the inning on a wild pitch.
They would add another in the top of the fifth, thanks to four walks (the Eagles’ 11th to 13th free pass on the day) from pitcher Brody Stark, thus making things that much easier for starting pitcher Josh Laukkanen who would go the distance and close out the mercy-rule shortened game, giving up just three hits over his five innings of work, striking out four while walking just one.
Offensively for the Royals, Waddington (2 hits, 4 RBIs, 1 run) and Green (2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) powered the seven hit attack. For the Eagles, Leo Jansch and Andy Weir and Shuta Araki, both with doubles, had the only three Eagles hits.
The Eagles remain winless (0-4) on the young season and will now have to wait until next week to get into the win column, as their games in North Delta on Easter Sunday have been postponed due to poor field conditions. Parksville moves to 3-1 and will head back up Island to face the Pirates for a pair on Sunday.