Royals rewarded for pitching gem with 12th-inning victory
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – They needed a little extra time for it to happen, but the Guelph Royals were finally rewarded for a splendid pitching outing as they edged the Kitchener Panthers 3-2 in 12 innings in Intercounty Baseball League play Saturday night at Hastings Stadium.
“We did a good job and I can’t say enough about how we played tonight,” Royals’ field manager Dave teBoekhorst said. “Nobody panicked. We felt we had the game in hand the whole time and execution, great job on the hit and run. I can’t say enough about the guys. They just came out and played one hell of a game.”
The Royals surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but snapped their four-game losing streak by holding Kitchener scoreless and hitless the rest of the way.
Guelph starter Yunior Yambatis, 2-2 on the season, gave up a double to Mike Gordner and an RBI single to Mike Andrulis in the first inning. After that, Kitchener had a single baserunner off Yambatis pitching and it came because of an error by the Royals.
Yambatis was relieved after the 10th inning by Edwin Javier, the IBL pitcher of the week last week, and Kitchener got two baserunners off him – one via a walk in the 11th and the other due to Guelph error in the 12th. Neither baserunner advanced past first.
“Yunior deserved the record in that one – 120 pitches through 10 innings is just absolutely ridiculous,” teBoekhorst said. “He settled right in after the first inning and he deserved a lot better fate.”
But it wasn’t a loss. After giving up two runs in the top of the first inning, the Royals got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning when Sean Reilly doubled to score Ethan Mohan who had been hit by Noelvis Entenza’s first pitch of the game.
Guelph’s second run came in the fourth when Adam Rossit hit a two-out single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Brendan Keys.
The Royals scored their winning run in the 12th after Kitchener sent Miguel Lahera in to pitch. He replaced Mike Schnurr who had a four-inning stint after relieving Entenza in the eighth.
Lahera walked Darius Barlas before Mohan hit a double up the middle on a hit-and-run play to move Barlas to third. With one out, Reilly was intentionally walked to load the bases and then Jon Waltenbury was walked on four pitches to send Barlas home with the winning run.
“I could see them creeping,” teBoekhorst, Kitchener’s field manager last year, said of the hit-and-run play. “Again it’s a bit unfair because I know how they play their defence. I know those guys over there. They were expecting bunt so I wanted to get them moving around a little bit. We had a good baserunner in Darius and a great bat handler in Ethan.”
Yambatis yielded two hits and a walk in 10 innings and also had eight strikeouts. Javier was the winner as he walked one and struck out three in his two-inning outing. The win squared his record at 4-4.
Mohan had a double and single for the Royals while Josh Garton and Keys each hit two singles. Reilly had his double and Jeff MacLeod, Liam Hicks and Rossit each hit a single.
Entenza gave up six hits and two walks in seven innings and he had three strikeouts. Schnurr surrendered three hits in four innings and Lahera had three walks and a strikeout and he yielded a hit in his stint of 1/3 of an inning.
The game was played in front of the largest home crowd of the season with more than 400 in attendance and was a fairly quick one as it took just over three hours to play the 12 innings. With an average of just over 15 minutes per complete inning, a nine-inning contest would’ve been over in about two hours and 17 minutes.
“It was a nice atmosphere in the park, a good crowd. It kind of felt like baseball’s back for the first time,” teBoekhorst said. “It was a different feel in the park tonight, right from the beginning.”
The Panthers continue to lead the league at 15-7 while the Royals improve to 8-15 to keep pace with the Brantford Red Sox and Hamilton Cardinals who also have eight wins. Brantford has three games in hand and Hamilton two.
The Royals and Panthers are to meet for the third time this week – Kitchener won 7-2 at Hastings Stadium Tuesday – when they tangle Sunday at 2 p.m. at Kitchener’s Jack Couch Park.