Royals excited to be part of Highway 3 Baseball League

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Royals pitcher Evan Leclaire delivers a pitch towards Luke Tilford of the Birch Hills Brewers on Tuesday evening at Andy Zwack Field.

When news of the Highway 3 Baseball League came out last summer, Dillon Zuck was quick to get a hold of the guys that he played minor baseball with to see if they wanted to form a senior baseball team in Prince Albert.

“I still had a list in my mind of everyone I was teammates with over the years, along with the connections I made through the different leagues and provincial tournaments,” Zuck said.

“When I called up some of the guys, many of them said to me ‘I’ve been looking for something like this.’ To see everyone have the want and desire to get back on the field has been awesome.”

With a roster put in place, the Prince Albert Royals began their 2021 campaign on June 15 in Birch Hills as they went up against the host Brewers.

“There was a lot of work to put the band back together but it’s been well worth to see the love rekindled for the game,” Zuck said.

“I think half the town of Birch Hills came out for that opening game and the was great to see. The guys from Prince Albert that haven’t played in a while were kind of wide-eyed to the whole thing as they really got to see the hunger that people have from senior baseball in this area.”

After dropping a 12-2 decision to the Brewers in their opening contest, the Royals had a stronger effort on Tuesday night at Andy Zwack Field, but came out on the wrong end of a 4-1 rematch with Birch Hills.

“It wasn’t the outcome that we were hoping for but everyone’s starting to shake the rust off and I think we’re heading in the right direction,” said Zuck, who plays several positions for the Royals.

“I think everything is clicking for us as everything becomes second nature out there again. We need to get on the sticks a little bit more, but I think we’ll be in the mix once everything starts rolling for us.”

While the team’s goal is to win a championship, Zuck and the other members of the Royals are hoping that the club can be one that Prince Albert Minor Baseball players can suit up for in the future.

“I remember when I was finishing up playing in midget, that was all that you got for baseball,” Zuck said. “There was nowhere left to go unless you moved to a bigger centre.

“For the guys that are playing Under-18 baseball, they now have something to play in once they finish up, which is great to see. We want to see this team grow and it’s exciting to be part of the foundation for it.”

The Royals are now gearing up to face the other teams in the Highway 3 Baseball League, with upcoming contests with the Pasquia Angels, Tisdale Rangers and Humboldt Dodgers on their schedule.

“We’ve faced Birch Hills last year in some exhibition games so we have a pretty good read on each other, but it will be nice to face some new teams here and see what we can do against them.”

Updates on the Highway 3 Baseball League can be found on the league’s Facebook page.