Guelph Royals swept from quarter-final series

GUELPH – The once promising Intercounty Baseball League season for the Guelph Royals came to an early end Sunday as they were defeated 6-4 by the Hamilton Cardinals at Hastings Stadium.

“It kind of compounded at the end of the season,” Royals manager Dave teBoekhorst said. “We weren’t playing good baseball and we kind of struggled with left-handed pitching and they’ve got some pretty good lefties that kept us off balance.”

Chris Lazar, a lefty, picked up the win for the Cardinals and the first of three relievers, Tanner Guindon, was also a lefty.

“Obviously, the errors that just kind of snowballed really killed us,” teBoekhost said.

The Royals were plagued by errors throughout the series and their butter fingers continued in Game 4 as they committed three errors that led to two unearned runs for Hamilton. In all, the Royals committed 15 errors in the four games.

The fielding problems started during the final couple of weeks of the regular season as the locals committed a total of 21 errors in their final eight games including eight in three games against the Cardinals.

“The errors that we were making were just so routine,” teBoekhorst said. “In a playoff series, you can’t hide from them. In the season you might be able to a little bit. Everything in baseball is contagious – errors, hitting, strikeouts, you name it. It seems that when it goes bad, it goes real bad. That was definitely the key note of the series.”

The win gave Hamilton a four-game sweep of the best-of-seven quarter-final and put the Cardinals into the semifinals for the second consecutive year while the Royals failed to advance out of the opening round for the sixth consecutive season. They last reached the semifinals in 2012 and didn’t participate in the 2017 playoffs after withdrawing from the league in June.

The Royals got the hits Sunday, but they just didn’t get timely hits. Guelph batters connected for 11 hits while the Cardinals were limited to five.

The home side got back-to-back solo homers by Angel Villalona and Justin Interisano in the sixth inning and Sean Reilly added a solo shot in the ninth. The other run came home in the eighth when Josh Garton, Reilly and Villalona hit consecutive singles.

Hamilton never trailed and the Royals never threw in the towel. The Cardinals were up 4-0 after the third inning before the Royals got their first two runs in the sixth. Hamilton led 6-2 midway through the seventh before the Royals scored a run in the bottom of the inning and added their final run of the season in the ninth.

“We fought right to the end,” teBoekhorst said. “Instead of rolling over and just taking it, we tried to claw back and we had the winning run at the plate (on the final out of the series). I’m proud of the guys. They never had their heads down and they still came to the ball park ready to do work every day. We just happened to lose to a better team.”

Reilly finished the game with a homer, double and single while Interisano had a double to go with his homer and Villalona had a single to go with his round-tripper. Garton had a double and single as the batters second through fifth in the Royals’ order connected for nine hits. Matt Schmidt and Brendan Keys each hit a single.

Jake Foden was the lone Hamilton batter to get more than one hit as he had a triple and a single. Connor Bowie also hit a triple and Luke Tevlin had a double. Jake Chiaravalle had Hamilton’s other hit, a single.

Guelph starter Edwin Javier gave up six runs, four earned, off five hits and seven walks in six innings while Yomar Concepcion relieved and retired all nine batters he faced. Javier had four strikeouts and Concepcion had three.

Lazar picked up the win as he limited the Royals to two earned runs off seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Guindon surrendered an earned run and a hit in his inning of work while Stefan Strecker issued a walk and allowed two hits, but didn’t give up any runs in the 2/3 of an inning he pitched. Kevin Pichardo picked up the save as he held the Royals to an earned run off one hit and two walks in two innings. Pichardo had three strikeouts while Lazar and Guindon had one apiece.

Hamilton is the first team in the league to advance to the semifinals this year. Welland Jackfish lead the London Majors 3-1 in their series while Barrie Baycats hold a 3-0 lead over the Brantford Red Sox in another series. The fourth quarter-final has the Kitchener Panthers leading the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.

 

Cardinals 6 Royals 4
Hamilton     121-000-200–6 5 1
Guelph     000-002-101–4 11 3
 
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  • Guelph Sports Journal