Royals roughed up by visiting Athletics

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Evan Malenfant of the Prince Albert Royals reacts to an incoming pitch from Saskatoon Athletics pitcher Kyle Fraser on Tuesday evening (June 29) at Andy Zwack Field.

In addition to battling the abnormally warm temperatures at Andy Zwack Field on Tuesday, the Prince Albert Under-18 Royals also had to deal with the red-hot bats of the Saskatoon Athletics.

After jumping out a 6-1 lead in the first two innings, the Athletics scored nine runs in the top of the sixth frame on their way to a dominant 16-3 win over the Royals in Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League AA play.

“Saskatoon’s a really talented team,” Royals coach Geoff Gay said. “We really didn’t have an answer to their strong pitching and hitting.

“We were able to shut them down for a couple of innings, but their bats were just too strong on Tuesday.”

The Royals also committed three errors during the game, which the Athletics were able to take advantage of.

“You can’t make any mistakes against a strong team like that and give them extra outs,” Gay said.

“We see them against next week at home and then two more times in July. Our pitchers will have a chance to figure them out a bit and we’re going to be focusing more on our pitch location as we got forward, especially against the Athletics.”

Nathan Gay and Nick Dutchak both drove in runs for the Royals in the loss, which saw Josh LaClaire and Bronson Paetsch combine to strike out eight batters.

Kael Flynn had four hits and two RBI’s for the 7-3 Athletics, who received a three-RBI performance from Aiden Sawatsky and a combined nine-strikeout outing from Flynn and Kyle Fraser.

The 9-3-1 Royals, who are in third place in the league standings behind the 12-2 Estevan Brewers and the 10-5 Regina Blue Jays, are now preparing for a 6:30 p.m. rematch against the Athletics on Tuesday.

“Our main goal is to improve each time we play them,” Gay said. “If we can get better against them at the plate, pitch effectively and shut them down defensively, I think we can do well against the Athletics.”

That will mark the last home game of the regular season for the team, as they will head out on the road for their final 10 contests.