As the Prince Albert Under-18 Royals gear up for their final four games of the 2021 Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League AA regular season, they will do after putting together one of their best offensive outputs of the year.
After dropping the first half of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader by a score of 9-8 to the White Butte Broncos, the Royals cruised to a 20-8 triumph in their second game in Balgonie, which improved their record to 12-7-1 and put them in sixth place in the league standings.
“I think our players would tell you that they would like to have that first game back,” Royals coach Geoff Gay said. “We got off to a good start, which was led by a three-run homer by Jack Mortimer, but then our bats went flat for a few innings and we had some struggles on defence.
“I have to give our guys a ton of credit with how they bounced back to close the gap in that first game and then with how they played in the rematch. Our defence was a lot better and we were able to go put on a lot of pressure offensively. If we can do both of those things in a game, we’re pretty hard to stop.”
Josh LaClaire and Mortimer did the majority of damage in the doubleheader as they drove in seven and six runs respectively.
“Josh put things away late in the game with a grand slam to centre field,” Gay said. “That really put the game out of reach.”
While their bats played a key role in their weekend performance, the Royals pitching also made their presence felt in both games.
“Josh and Dawson Paterson were both really good and Ben Lefebvre showed once again why he’s been one of our most consistent pitchers this season,” Gay said.
“Brady Robin is also eating up innings for us on a regular basis and he was good on Saturday, as he struck out seven of their batters in our first game.”
Next up for the Royals will be a trip to North Battleford on Wednesday as they’ll face the host Beavers in 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. matchups at Beaver Lions Stadium.
The two sides previously squared off on Saturday, June 12 in Prince Albert, which saw the Royals come away with 15-14 and 14-9 triumphs at Andy Zwack Field.
“North Battleford is a scrappy team that doesn’t quit,” Gay said of the Beavers, who have a 7-10 record this season. “They’ve been able to get some big wins against the top teams in our league.
“We expect both of those games to be close and to play out very similarly to what we saw here in Prince Albert last month.”
The Royals will wrap up their regular season on Saturday in Saskatoon as they’ll face the 14-6 Athletics in noon and 3 p.m. matchups at Leakos Field.