Concepcion sparkles as Royals stretch their win streak
GUELPH – It was Yomar Concepcion’s turn this time.
Concepcion tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout as the Guelph Royals edged the Burlington Herd 1-0 in Intercounty Baseball League play Tuesday night at Hastings Stadium.
Concepcion threw 137 pitches, had 14 strikeouts and walked two to get the win.
“Yomar pitched a heck of a game and kept us where we only needed one (run),” Royals field manager Dave teBoekhorst said. “We’re playing well and we just want to keep rolling through the rest of this week.”
With the playoffs expected to start next week, the Royals are heating up at the right time as Tuesday’s win was Guelph’s fifth consecutive victory.
“We’re playing good baseball,” teBoekhorst said. “Obviously this is the kind of baseball you want to play heading into the playoffs.”
Concepcion, Yunior Yambatis and Edwin Javier form the heart of Guelph’s rotation as they’ve combined to start 28 games while fellow Dominican Jorge de la Cruz has started four games. Daniel Marquez started the other one in the season opener at Toronto May 13.
“They’ve been putting in their work and they’ve kind of settled in,” teBoekhorst said of the Dominicans. “They had a bit of a moving issue where they had to move from Guelph to Kitchener halfway through and I think that kind of put them out of sorts a little bit, but they’ve settled in and they’re doing a great job.
“I’d like to see them get their pitch count down a little bit. They’re all strikeout pitchers and with that comes walks some time and extra pitches that you don’t need, but they’ve got rubber arms and they seem to flourish with shorter rest. We’re going to keep riding them and use our bullpen when needed because our bullpen hasn’t been that bad, either.”
The bullpen has been kept fresh this season with Ben Reid’s 11 appearances being the most. David Hatt has been in 10 games while nobody else has been in more than four.
Tuesday’s only run came in the seventh inning as Josh Garton hit a ground-rule double to lead off the bottom half of the inning. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Justin Interisano.
“We would’ve liked to have put more runs up. That would have helped my blood pressure a little bit,” teBoekhorst said.
Rich Corrente pitched the complete game for Burlington. He surrendered the earned run off eight hits. Corrente didn’t walk anybody and he struck out four.
Angel Villalona hit a double and two singles for the Royals while Garton had his seventh-inning double. Sean Reilly, Interisano, Jon Waltenbury and Adam Rossit each hit one single.
Andrew Mercier had a single in the fourth inning and Justin Gideon had a single in the fifth to account for the Herd’s hits. No Burlington batter reached base after Gideon’s hit as Concepcion retired the final 13 batters he faced.
The win lifts the Royals into a tie for fourth place with the Toronto Maple Leafs as the two have identical 14-19 records. The Hamilton Cardinals also have 14 wins, but they’ve lost 20.
“I don’t look at the standings,” teBoekhorst said. “I couldn’t tell you how many half games we’re out or where we’re at.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter. You just have to beat everybody once you get to the playoffs. I’ve been here a million times. The placing doesn’t matter. In ’04 we won and we were in fifth place, 18-18. In 2000 we were the pennant winners and lost in the championship so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because you have to beat everybody.”
The victory guaranteed the Royals won’t finish in the league’s basement as the loss dropped Burlington’s record to 12-23. The Herd has a single game to play to complete its regular season while the Royals have three.
“We’ve actually handled the top teams pretty well,” teBoekhorst said. “We beat Barrie twice, we beat London a couple of times, Kitchener a couple of times. But we’ve lost to them a bunch. There’s a lot more parity in the league this year, but Barrie’s still the team to beat.”
The Royals are to finish their regular season with games against the three teams ahead of them in the standings. They’re to play the third-place London Majors (19-13) at London’s Labatt Park Thursday at 7:35 p.m., the second-place Kitchener Panthers (23-10) at Kitchener’s Jack Couch Park Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the first-place Barrie Baycats (24-8) at Hastings Stadium Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Royals 1 Herd 0
Burlington 000-000-000 – 0 2 1
Guelph 000-000-10x – 1 8 0
WP: Concepcion, Guelph.
LP: Corrente, Burlington.
WildP: Corrente, Burlington.
P-S: Corrente 105-79, Burlington; Concepcion 137-91, Guelph.
2B: Villalona, Garton, Guelph.
Team LOB: Burlington 5; Guelph 5.
E: Gideon, Burlington.
DP: Burlington 2.
- Guelph Sports Journal