U18 Royals to host provincials this weekend

Herald File Photo. The U18 AA Royals are set to host provincials this weekend at Andy Zwack Field

For the third consecutive weekend, the provincial baseball spotlight will shine on Prince Albert as the U18 AA Royals prepare to host Tier II provincials at Andy Zwack Field.

“It kind of came as a little bit of a surprise for us.” says Royals head coach Scott Gladestone. “We were asked to see what we could do to host it. Everybody that is involved with our team has put in a lot of work in the last few weeks to get it going. The boys have been practicing hard and we’re looking forward to having a result.”

The previous two weekends, Prince Albert has hosted U11 Tier 7 provincials and U13 Tier 1 provincials at the Kinsmen Baseball Complex.

Gladestone says being named a host for provincials is a positive sign for the sport of baseball in Prince Albert.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s good to see that PA is becoming a little bit more of a baseball city. There’s more and more kids getting registered. There are three provincials that we’ve hosted this year. So, it’s great for the city and it’s great for baseball.”

The Royals will kick off round robin play on Friday morning when they take on the Saskatoon A’s at 10:30 a.m.  They will also play the nightcap against the Melfort Red Sox at 6 p.m. All games in the tournament are being played at Andy Zwack Field.

Gladestone says Prince Albert will need to rely on their pitching staff throughout the weekend.

“Pitching is going to be it’s going to be key for us to really pound the strike zone and to play catch and our catcher is make sure we’re not getting too many passed balls and wild pitches and just securing that baseball. (We need to be) making good pitches and trying to keep our pitch count low.”

Wins have been tough to come by for the U18 Royals this season as they posted a 3-25 record. Gladestone says the win column hasn’t been indicative of how the season has gone for Prince Albert.

“Wins and losses is not exactly been the result that we’ve been looking for. I’ve seen lots of improvements. I think the biggest thing for us is that we’ve been in every game, we’ve played seven innings, every game. We’re not getting blown out or mercy ruled. We’re trying to control the blow up inning a little bit.”

Prince Albert will conclude round robin play at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon against the Lumsden Cubs. Gladestone says he hopes the community comes out and supports the Royals over the weekend.

“I just really hope that we get some fans coming out to the ballpark to watch these guys play. I think that despite our record that we’re very confident coming into provincials here. I think we’ve got a good shot to have a really good outcome.”