Tough first inning too much for Royals to overcome

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Griffen Norton-Tibbs of the Prince Albert Royals ducks to avoid a pitch from Bronson Babyak of the Saskatoon Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Andy Zwack Field.

The Prince Albert Royals Under-18 squad found out firsthand why the Saskatoon Blue Jays are one of the teams to beat in the Saskatchewan Premier AA Baseball League’s midget division this season.

The undefeated Blue Jays rattled off nine runs in the top of the first inning and controlled the rest of Wednesday’s game at Andy Zwack Field as they cruised to a 17-7 triumph over the Royals.

“We’ve played against the Blue Jays zone for the past 10 years at various levels,” Royals coach Geoff Gay said after the contest. “They are always well-coached and they don’t make mistakes out there.

“When we come out and have as many errors as we did right off the bat, it’s tough to come back against a team like that.”

After falling behind 12-1 in the third inning, the Royals made things interesting in the bottom of the fourth frame as they rattled off six runs.

However, the 10-0 Blue Jays would pull away for good in the sixth with four runs of their own.

“Once again, I really liked how our team battled out there, which has been one of our trademarks all season,” Gay said.

“Our guys never get down on each other. They just keep grinding and they stay composed at all times.”

The Blue Jays are one of two teams in the circuit that have yet to lose a game this season, as the Weyburn Beavers have posted a 12-0 mark thus far.

“Our guys have been playing together for a long time and they really have a lot of fun out there,” Blue Jays coach Marlow Knight said.

“We had the long weekend off, so it was nice to get back into the groove again. Although we had a few balls get away from us in the fourth inning and they got some runs on a few walks, I thought we pitched really well tonight. We also hit the ball well once again, which has been one of our strengths all season.”

The 2-11 Royals are now preparing for a weekend doubleheader at Andy Zwack Field, as they’ll be hosting the 5-6 Regina Buffalos at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday.

“We have one more game after that against Assiniboia in Saskatoon and then we’ll be in the North Division playoffs, though we don’t know who our opponent will be for that yet,” Gay said.

“We can’t worry about the standings right now though. The key for us in these last three regular season games is to make sure that we are minimizing our mistakes. When we play our game, we match well against the top teams, so we need to focus on what we do best if we want to try and pull off an upset.”