Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
April 1, 2018, Victoria, BC – Taking a page from Major League Baseball, who began their 2018 campaign this week on the earliest date ever, the Victoria Eagles and Parksville Royals began the 2018 BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) season a week earlier than originally scheduled, with the Royals coming away with a sweep of the Eagles in double-header action Sunday at Lambrick Park in Victoria.
Originally scheduled for the BCPBL opening weekend on April 7th, the Royals were not going to be available then, so a decision was made to move the games to today, as part of the Victoria Eagles 2018 Icebreaker Tournament, that saw the Premier, Junior and Midget AAA Eagles, the Premier and Junior Premier Victoria Mariners, the Premier and Junior Premier Mid-Island Pirates and the Junior Premier Parksville Royals all venture to Lambrick Park for a series of exhibition games on Friday and Saturday and following the Eagles and Royals games on Sunday.
In Game 1 action Sunday, the Royals started the season in fine fashion, pounding out 12 hits, including two each from Brodie Comerford and Spencer Walton, en route to a convincing 17-1 mercy-rule shortened win over the Eagles.
The Royals would get to Eagles starter Hayden Wilcox for a pair of runs in the second and another four in a four-hit third to get their offence rolling and then added 10 more in a seven-hit sixth to put the game out of reach.
In addition to the four hits combined from Comerford and Walton, the Royals had a four-RBI game from Kieran Carcary and two-RBI games from Thomas Green and Ben Munger.
Royals starter Josh Laukkenan would get the first win of the BCPBL season, going 4.2 innings and giving up the one Eagles run on five hits, while walking two and striking out six. Jaxon Ackerman closed out the last 1.1 innings, giving up just a single hit, while walking two and striking out one.
Wilcox gets tagged with the loss, for the Eagles, going just 2.1 innings and giving up six Royals runs on four hits, while walking six. Connor Irvine and Nigel Parsons saw action in relief for the Eagles.
Offensively for Victoria, their six hits came from six different players, including doubles from Jayden Cull, Mike Musselwhite and Dominic Hambley and singles from Brad Cox, Rei Kimura and Chad Hegland.
In Game 2, the Eagles kept things close early, trailing 3-2 after three, but a bases-loaded, three-RBI double from Parksville’s Tim Holyk sparked a four-run Royals fourth, propelling the Royals to a 11-3 win and giving them a sweep of the opening weekend double-header.
Also leading the Royals offence in the eight-hit, game two attack was Josh Laukkanen with two doubles, two walks and three runs scored, Connor Hall with two hits and a run scored and Thomas Green with three walks and two runs scored.
Brady Radcliffe got the start for the Royals and picked up the win, going four complete innings and giving up three Eagles runs on three hits, while walking three and striking out three. Shae Verral and Ryan Humphries saw action in relief, holding the Eagles hitless over the final three innings.
Offensively for the Eagles, Jayden Cull, Mike Musselwhite and Alex Baan-Meikleohn had the three hits, while Takaki Shinozuka walked twice and scored one of the Eagles runs.
Left-hander Leo Jansch started for the Eagles and was tagged with the loss, going 2.2 innings and giving up three runs on four hits, while walking three and striking out five. Gavin Pringle and Zach Swanson saw action in relief.
The Eagles did not help their cause defensively, giving up five unearned runs on a total of five errors for the game.
With the early start, both teams now enjoy a couple of weeks off before their next action, with the Royals taking on the Mid-Island Pirates on Saturday April 14th and the Eagles then battling those same Pirates a day later on April 15th.
The 2018 BCPBL season continues in earnest on Saturday April 7th as the Coquitlam Reds travel to White Rock to face the Tritons and then on Sunday April 8th, there are two double-headers on tap as the Langley Blaze visit the Whalley Chiefs, the North Shore Twins visit the UBC Thunder.