Prince Albert Royals to begin SPBLAA play this weekend

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Prince Albert Royals stretch prior to a practice on Tuesday evening.

The Sask Premier Baseball League (SPBL) season is about to begin, and the U18AA Prince Albert Royals are hoping to make noise in the standings.

Royals head coach Scott Gladstone says Prince Albert will look to rely on their pitching staff early in the season to stay in games.

“I’m thinking that our pitching is going to be strong. We’ve been working lots on defense in practices, and I think that’s going to be a strength. Hitting is usually a struggle, it is usually the last thing to catch up. We’ll see how this weekend goes to start things off and kind of take things from there.”

Prince Albert begins SPBL play this weekend with a four-game road trip. That includes a doubleheader on Saturday in Weyburn against the Beavers and a doubleheader Sunday against the Estevan Brewers

Gladstone says he’s hoping his pitching staff will be sharp and keep pitch counts low while playing a minimum of 28 innings of baseball across four games in two days.

“The biggest thing is that none of these guys have pitched in a game yet. With pitch count rules and all of that, it’s making sure that these guys aren’t hurting their arms, making sure that we’ve got the number of pitches that we’re going to need to play four seven inning games.”

After finishing 13th a year ago with a 5-18-0 record, the Royals are hoping to finish near the top of the North Division standings this year.

Gladstone says the Royals are returning a lot of the same players from last season, who have gained plenty of experience.

“I think we’re going to be very competitive. The southern teams are usually pretty strong, and they were last year. I’m really hoping that we kind of finish in that .500 area. Last year, we were well below that, but we’ve got a lot of the same guys this year and they’ve got one extra year of experience.”

The Royals open their regular season home schedule on May 20 against the Regina Buffaloes at Andy Zwack Field.