Royals season ends with playoff loss to Beavers

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Royals pitcher Nick Nye played a key role in Sunday's win over the Regina Pacers.

Tuesday’s trip to Beaver Lions Stadium summed up the 2020 season for the Prince Albert Royals Under-18 program.

A pair of five-run innings by the North Battleford Beavers proved to be the difference in a Saskatchewan Premier AA Baseball League midget division playoff game as the host team picked up a 13-5 triumph and brought an end to the Royals campaign.

“It followed a pretty similar pattern to many of our games this season,” Royals manager Geoff Gay said. “We gave up five runs in the bottom of the first inning, but we battled and fought to get the score back down to 8-5.

“I thought the turning point of the game was in the fifth inning. Nick Nye had just struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth inning and we got a couple of runs in the top of the fifth to make things closer. However, the Beavers were able to execute in the bottom of that inning. They made a great hit on two outs to score a couple of runs and they broke the game open from there.”

One of the standout performers of Tuesday’s game for the Royals was Nye, as he struck out six batters in two innings of work.

“Nick’s a first year player for us and he’s got an electric arm,” Gay said.

“He pitched really well for us this season and I think his future is very bright.”

Although the Royals finished the year with a 3-15 record, the majority of their roster is slated to return for the 2021 campaign.

“I think going through a season like this will make the team really hungry as we get for next year,” Gay said.

“If COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror by the time the season gets going, we’ll make sure that our players are ready to go as soon as the season starts. That will be different than what happened to us this year as we were a little more reactive as we waited to find out if and when the season was going to start.”

The Royals will be losing two players from this year’s rosters as Logan Fontaine and Griffen Norton-Tibbs are both aging out of the league.

“Logan made a successful transition from fastball last year and he really became a competitive player that fit right in with our team,” Gay said.

“Griffen hadn’t played competitive ball for the last seven years, so it took him a little bit to get up to speed. Once he did though, he really had a strong finish to the season.”