Despite falling short in the provincial semi-final, the Prince Albert U18 AA Royals exceeded expectations over the weekend at Andy Zwack Field.
Prince Albert took home a pair of round robin victories over the Northeast Red Sox and Lumsden Cubs.
The regular season was not particularly kind to the Royals as they only managed three victories.
Royals head coach Scott Gladstone says the team’s record wasn’t indicative of their play and he was proud with the Royals play over the weekend.
“We didn’t get the win and loss record that we would have liked to have in league. I thought we were very competitive. We were right in every game, we lost by a couple of runs here and there. Provincials was fantastic, I don’t think anyone expected us to do what we did, but to finish third place in the pool play and get a couple of wins was huge for us.”
The weekend didn’t get off to an ideal start for the Royals as they fell in their opening game of provincials to the eventual champion Saskatoon A’s 13-3 on Friday morning.
The Royals would bounce back in the night cap and defeat the Northeast Red Sox 9-6 behind a strong start on the mound by Lyndon Simpson and a key two-run single off the bat of Brandon Moose.
Prince Albert would need a Saturday afternoon victory over the Lumsden Cubs to punch their ticket to the provincial playoff bracket,
Dylan Kripp shined on the mound for Prince Albert. Kripp, a graduating player for the Royals, threw a complete game allowing three earned runs on six hits, walking two batters and punching out six on just 91 pitches.
The Royals would open the scoring in the first inning as Lyndon Simpson would line a single into right field, scoring Kayden Burns. Two batters later, Brandon Moose would score a pair on a single.
In the second inning, Lucas Robin would pick up an RBI with a bases loaded walk.
The Royals would add an insurance run in the top half of the fifth inning as Meyer Chu would drive home Simpson with an RBI single into shallow left field.
Gladstone says he was very impressed by the graduating players who started the final two round robin games for Prince Albert.
“It was super great. For two guys in their final minor baseball pitching performances, they were outstanding. I was super proud of those guys and super happy for them to have that kind of a sendoff for their minor baseball careers.”
In the semi-final, Prince Albert could only manage four hits in six innings in a 10-0 loss.
Gladstone says the team chemistry for the Royals was amazing all season long, despite the tough times the team went through.
“The boys were fantastic. They kept their spirits up the entire season. Regardless of what our win loss record was, there was no infighting. They were a really good group of kids, so that was a big point. I saw all of these kids improve on both sides of the ball, whether it was batting or fielding and some of them with their pitching. I think that bodes well for us in the future.”