Royals slated to open IBL season Saturday
GUELPH – The Guelph Royals are scheduled to open their Intercounty Baseball League season Saturday with several familiar faces back from last year’s team.
The Royals are to host the Kitchener Panthers Saturday at Hastings Stadium.
The league’s first-team all-star designated hitter last year, Sean Reilly is back with the Royals. A four-time player-of-the-year award winner, Reilly had 12 homers, 36 RBIs and hit .341 last year. He was drafted by Minnesota Twins as a pitcher in 1995 and played two seasons of rookie ball before an arm injury put an end to his pitching career.
Also back with the Royals this season are workhorse pitchers Yunior Yambatis and Edwin Javier from the Dominican Republic.
Yambatis, 25, was a second-team all-star right-handed pitcher last season when he went 5-5 with a save and 92 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings pitched.
Javier, 22, was 7-6 with a save and 119 strikeouts in 90 innings.
Ben Reid, 24, is back for his fifth season with the Royals. He pitched in 11 games last season, all in relief.
Brett Lawson, 40, is back with the Royals after the Royals traded infielder Jon Waltenbury to the Barrie Baycats to get the 6-foot-7 hurler who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2001. Lawson began his time in the IBL with the Royals in 2010 when he went 1-3.
Joel Espinal, 22, is another pitcher from the Dominican Republic who’s joining the Royals this season. He was 10-10 in four seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He had four saves in A+ ball with the Dunedin Blue Jays last year.
Another reliever, Fernando Fernandez-Beltran, 24, from Chateauguay, Que., joins the Royals after playing for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the CanAm league last year. He was 1-1 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012.
Fourth pitcher from the Dominican Republic is 25-year-old Jean Carlos Henriquez. He was 2-5 in two seasons in the Dominican Summer League with the Dominican Rays, a Tampa Bay Rays rookie team.
Other pitchers include Jordon Inkol, up from the Guelph Silvercreeks, and Evan Kiser, a reliever at Niagara University.
Catchers listed on the team’s roster are Drew Heurter, Brendan Keys and R.J. Lambert.
Keys had 17 RBIs, three stolen bases and a .263 average with the Royals last year after three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Guelphite Justin Interisano, 27, is back with the Royals after hitting seven homers and 24 RBIs last year. In seven seasons in the league, five with the Royals and two with Kitchener, Interisano has clobbered 58 homers and driven in 223 runs.
Fifth player from the Domincan Republic on the roster is infielder Angel Villalona. The 28-year-old had two homers, eight RBIs and hit .381 in 10 games with the Royals last year after his late arrival that was held up due to visa problems. He played for eight seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization, reaching the AA level with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He had 84 homers, 364 RBIs and hit .248 in those eight seasons in the Giants organization.
Darius Barlas drove in seven runs and hit .271 for the Royals last season.
Matthew Pilarczyk had a homer and eight RBIs with the Royals last year, his second with the team.
Guelph native Josh Garton, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2009 and reached the A level with the Dayton Dragons in their organization, is back with the Royals. A second-team all-star outfielder last season, Garton had four homers, 17 RBIs and hit .346.
Ethan Mohan of Calgary is back for a second season with the Royals. He was third in the league’s rookie-of-the-year voting after getting four homers, 17 RBIs, three stolen bases and a .317 batting average.
Also back with the Royals is veteran outfielder Jeff MacLeod who lives in Rockwood. He had one homer and seven RBIs last season.
Others who could see time in the outfield are Guelphite Kyle Kush and Ethan Hammond of Oakville. Kush is playing at Canisius College in Buffalo this year while Hammond is playing at Trinidad State junior college in Colorado.
Second-team all-star manager Dave teBoekhorst is also back to guide the squad.
Game time Saturday is 1 p.m.
The two teams are to meet again Sunday at Kitchener’s Jack Couch Park. Game time is 2 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal