U15 Royals come up short in provincial semi-final

Herald File Photo. The Prince Albert U15 Royals celebrate a home run during a home game earlier this season.

The season was a great success for the Prince Albert U15 Royals, however they came up one run short in their provincial semi-final against the Lumsden Cubs last weekend in Unity.

Prince Albert finished round robin play with a perfect record of 3-0, including two wins where they induced the 10-run mercy rule after five innings.

Royals head coach Graham McGregor says Prince Albert played a strong game, but couldn’t get a key hit to get runs across.

“Everything was going well and heading into playoffs. We were in a good position as far as our pitching was concerned and then we came up against Lumsden and we just didn’t score enough runs. We played well defensively. Our pitching was still good through that game and it was just one of those scenarios where we couldn’t get the bat on the ball often enough or runs and left some baserunners on base and just didn’t score enough.”

The Royals faced some adversity early in the semi-final. Early in the game, Carter Krip dove back to first base on a pickoff attempt and had to leave the game with an upper body injury.

Krip typically bats in the middle of the order for Prince Albert, but McGregor says the team didn’t let the injury affect their play.

“When they see a teammate, a friend go down injured like that, obviously it’s going to affect them to some extent. With Carter being one of our strong hitters and obviously someone that we were counting on to pitch later in the day, I think it affected the kids a little bit. These kids have been competitive in sports for a number of years already and then were actually very mature about the whole thing. They were obviously concerned about Carter, but at the same time, they just continued to play. They played on from that point. I don’t think that it negatively affected their play in a in a big way.”

With several players from this year’s U15 Royals team advancing to the U18 level next season, McGregor says the provincial semi-final will provide a learning opportunity for them.

“I think it’s safe to say any time you lose the tournament where you have high hopes and you have the potential to win it all, it’s disappointing, it’s difficult. And I think that we learn from our mistakes, and we learn from our failure. We continue to grow. It’s not like the kids were frustrated beyond belief or anything like that. They were actually quite mature.  I think they’ll just continue to grow and improve.”