After getting stomped by the Regina White Sox in their home opener on Saturday, the Prince Albert Royals 18U squad picked up a split on Sunday in North Battleford against the Beavers. The Royals took game one by an 8-5 score, before narrowly dropping a 6-5 decision in game two.
“It was a good bounce back, and overall just a good day,” coach Pat Robin said.
It was another strong outing for Nick Dutchak on the bump, who made his second pitching appearance of the year. The right-handed hurler went six innings, allowing five hits and four earned runs, while striking out six batters and walking five. Kolby Brown came in for the seventh not allowing a hit and walking one batter.
The Royals opened the scoring in the top of the first, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Dawson Patterson started things off with a single that drove in a run. Bronson Parker lined into a fielder’s choice two batters later, but Kayden Burns came in to score, making it a 2-0 lead. After a walk loaded the bases, Cody Morash was sat down on strikes, bringing up Brown to the plate with two outs.
Beavers pitcher Trayton Troesch proceeded to walk the next to batters he faced, which brought in two runs with the bases still loaded. North Battleford finally got out of the top half of the first trailing by four early.
The Beavers displayed some offense of their own in the bottom half, scoring four runs to tie the game. Dutchak began his outing with a strikeout, but gave up a double to Noah Puetz the next at bat. Dutchak gave up a walk to Ryan Taylor, putting runners on first and second. Troesch drove in a run with an RBI groundout, making it a 4-1 game with two outs in the bottom half of the first.
Dutchak walked the next batter and gave up two more singles, which allowed the Beavers to score three more runs to tie the game. The Royals finally got out of the inning after a groundout to the pitcher, making it a 4-4 game after one.
“We scored four runs in the top of the first and then we gave up four in the bottom half,” Robin said. “That’s fine, it happens. There might have been an error that helped them out, but that’s just baseball. After that, Nick had three clean innings in the second, third, and fourth. We started making plays, and made less errors after that.”
The Royals took a 6-4 lead after scoring runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The Beavers added a run of their own in the bottom of the fifth, but Prince Albert put the game away with a two run sixth inning, making it 8-5. The Royals sealed the win in the bottom of the seventh when catcher Lukas Robin channeled his inner Yadier Molina, catching Quaid Watson stealing second.
The Beavers opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, thanks to a pair of steals by Dylan Risling. After singling, Risling stole second, and stole third as well. Robin tried to throw him out at third, but his throw was wild and made its way past the third baseman covering. Risling advanced home on the error, making it 1-0.
Prince Albert scored three in the top of the third. After a walk and a single put Kayden Burns and Dawson Patterson on base, Bronson Parker put the Royals on the board with a huge two RBI triple. Cody Morash doubled two batters later, driving in Parker to put the Royals on top 3-1.
Getting the start on the mound for the Royals, Patterson threw five strong innings, allowing four hits and giving up just one earned run, while striking out five batters and walking one.
Prince Albert added two more runs in the top of the sixth, thanks to some good hitting and a wild pitch. Robin and Burns both touched home plate in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-1.
The game took a complete 180 in the bottom half, as the Beavers scored four to cut the deficit to just one run. With Robin in to pitch in the sixth, he hit the first batter he saw in the game, and gave up a single and a double his next two batters, which brought in the first run of the inning. After striking out the next batter, Robin got Troesch to groundout, but another run came in to score, making it a 5-3 score. A wild pitch in the next at bat allowed Caleb Hoiseth to score making it 5-4.
An error in the bottom of the seventh allowed the Beavers to stay alive with two outs. When the game could have been put away, the mistake let North Battleford tie the game. After another walk issued by Robin, the winning run came in to score in the next at bat after a wild pitch. Risling came in to score as the sixth run, splitting the Sunday set with the Beavers taking game two by a 6-5 final.
“Patterson pitched really well for us,” Robin said. “That was his first start after he spent a lot of time as catcher. I didn’t want to push him with the pitch count too much, but he was rolling through the game well. I decided to take him out because he was tired, and it showed. It was his first outing and he was nearing 70 pitches, which was good.
“I brought Lukas in, and decided to keep him in after we gave up those three runs in the sixth. He was still feeling good, so he pitched the seventh. It didn’t end the way it should have ended. The runner scored on the curveball in the dirt, and that sealed the win for North Battleford. But overall it was a good day.”
The Royals and Beavers will wrap up their three game series on Wednesday back in Prince Albert at Andy Zwack Field. Opening pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.