Royals encouraged despite loss to Kitchener
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – That was better.
Despite losing 8-1 to the Kitchener Panthers in their second Intercounty Baseball League game of the season, the Guelph Royals left the Hastings Stadium field Monday feeling encouraged.
If not for errors that led to four runs for the team that finished second in the league standings last year, the score might have been closer and the Royals might have been in a position to mount a late-inning comeback.
“If you look at the score, it was 100 per cent better,” Royals manager Steve Scagnetti said. “We did a lot more things right today. The pitchers did a great job. I only counted four earned runs. (There were) a couple of bad hops and a couple of errors. If we cut down on the walks, it could’ve been a 3-1 game.”
The Royals dropped their opening game 16-0 to the London Majors, last year’s first-place finishers following a tie-breaking game with the Panthers following the end of the regular season, Saturday at Hastings Stadium.
Kitchener scored three runs in the second off of rattled Guelph starter Cam Gray. He was struck in the stomach by a comebacker by Panthers slugger Sean Reilly with two on in the first. While both runners advanced a base, Gray managed to get Reilly out then retired the next two batters to get out of the jam.
The second inning, though, was a different story. With one on and two out, former Royal Tino Silvestri hit a single and Yorbis Borroto followed with a two-run double. Colin Gordner made it back-to-back doubles to score Borroto and Reilly was issued an intentional walk to bring Gray’s stint to the end.
Gray took the loss and was followed by six pitchers – Evan DiMichelle, Lucas Crichton, Justin Cline, Ben Reid, Adrian Yuen and Matt Vucovich. DiMichelle finished the second and pitched the third while all the others worked one inning apiece.
The seven Guelph pitchers combined to surrender the eight runs, four earned, off 11 hits and 10 walks. They had four strikeouts.
“We need to see what they have and try to figure out some roles for them,” Scagnetti said. “Again, it’s getting them the work and getting them comfortable out there. Nobody showed intimidation today. That’s a good lineup over there and they went at them. They attacked them, made good pitches and got ground balls and fly balls like they’re supposed to.”
While the pitchers struggled to find the strike zone in the opener, they fared a little better against Kitchener. The seven accounted for a total of 215 pitches, 112 for strikes. That’s 52 per cent. That was an improvement of 1½ per cent from the opener.
The Royals were a lot better at the plate than in the opener when they were held to a single. They clubbed six hits and scored their first run of the season when Kingsley Alarcon reached base on an error and Marquis Kidd scored. Kidd had singled to start Guelph’s turn at bat.
Kidd clouted two singles in the game while Chris Nakashima hit a double and Alarcon, Jeff MacLeod and Jake Forgrave also hit one single apiece.
“We striped three or four right at guys,” Scagnetti said of Guelph’s hitting. “It’s funny how you get little bloopers and they go for hits and you get line drives at guys, but the hitting will come.”
While the Royals yielded four unearned runs as a result of errors by shortstop Alarcon, third baseman Forgrave and second baseman Matthew Pilarczyk, the score could have been much worse as the Panthers left 17 runners on base. The Royals stranded five.
“Everything’s a progression,” Scagnetti said. “Obviously, we need to string some hits together. Four earned runs given up today and we only scored one earned run. If we start knocking in some guys that are getting on base, then you start getting some momentum and you start putting pressure on the other team and then we can take advantage of that instead of the other way around.”
Kitchener pitchers Jasvir Rakkar (the winner), Matt Vickers, Noelvis Entenza, Mike Schnurr and Phil Owen combined to issue six hits and one walk while fanning 10.
Next up for the Royals is a game against the Barrie Baycats, last year’s third-place finishers and playoff champions, at Barrie’s Coates Stadium Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The Royals are to host the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday at 2 p.m. at Hastings Stadium.
- Guelph Sports Journal