Wrapping up a successful season, the Royals handed out their individual player awards last week.
Ryan Deagle walked away with the Tyler Phillips Memorial award for outstanding performance from a player in his first year on the team. Deagle, from Campbell River and competing against the toughest competition in the province, absolutely mashed at the plate this season hitting .333/.453/.547. Over the course of the COVID-shortened season and playoffs he drove in a team-leading 22 RBI and hit two home runs to go with six doubles and two triples.
“Ryan hit clean-up for us all year and led the team in batting average, RBI, and HRs,” said Coach Frank Kaluzniak. “He’s a great kid who has leadership qualities on and off the field.”
Keitaro Adachi was the recipient of the GM’s development award and was recognized for his excellent contribution behind the plate, a new position for him since joining the Royals. Adachi hails from Courtenay and will continue to be a presence at shortstop and second base as well as catcher in the 2022 season.
“Adachi was a work-horse for us all season, transitioning into a new position and did an outstanding job. He showed massive improvements in his offensive and defensive abilities,” said Kaluzniak.
Nanoose Bay’s Ethan Dean took home the Coaches Award for Commitment to the Royals Philosophy presented to the player who embodies hard work, a team-first attitude, and commitment to the Royals program. Dean is a left-handed pitcher and held opposing batters to a .201 average this season. He turned in a sparkling 2.25 ERA to go along with 46 strike-outs over 37 innings of play. Dean has committed to the University of Victoria Golden Tide in September and figures to see a lot of action.
Coach Kaluzniak said, “Ethan has been with us since Junior and has made huge strides on the mound. He bought into what the coaching staff were trying to teach and it showed in his results all season – he was just terrific for us.”
Save-On-Foods Royals bow out in semi-finals at PBL Championship Tournament
The Royals drew Pool A (dubbed the “group of death”) in the PBL Finals tournament and earned a spot in the semi-finals on the strength of wins over the North Delta Blue Jays and the Victoria Mariners in round robin play.
The boys in purple started strong posting a 3-2 victory over North Delta in the opener. North Delta, who had a regular season record of 19-7, good for 2nd overall, were favourites going in but the Island crew had something to prove. Starter Seth Gurr went 6 and a third innings, striking out 8 and walking 1 to earn the victory. Gurr had a fantastic season, striking out 59 batters over 33 innings pitched and his performance drew the attention of the scouts in attendance and let everyone know that Parksville had an eye on the final.
With runners at 1st and 2nd, Anson McGorman came in to get the final two outs and he needed only two pitches to earn the save and secure the win for the Royals. On McGorman’s first pitch, the runner on 2nd broke for 3rd and was gunned down by a great throw from catcher Carter Hall. The next batter grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw and the Royals had the win.
On offense, the Royals got hits from McGorman, Breydan Riecker, Carter Hall, and Thomas Plant. McGorman and Plant chipped in with an RBI each.
After dropping a 5-1 decision to the Langley Blaze, the Royals could clinch a berth in the semi-finals with a win over Island rivals, the Victoria Mariners. The match was a well-played and low-scoring affair with both teams bearing down looking for the win. The game was scoreless into the bottom of the 5th inning when with 2 out and Liam McNamee aboard on a walk, Tyler Kolopenuk crushed a double to left field and put the Royals on the board. Next up was lead-off man Breydan Riecker who battled through a full count and sent the 7th pitch of the at-bat screaming into right field for a double of his own, scoring Kolopenuk to make the score 2-0.
And that was all the offensive support that starter Anson McGorman would need. McGorman was dominant against Victoria, blanking the Mariners with a 90+ mph fastball, a plus curveball, and a nasty change-up. McGorman struck out 12 and walked zero, throwing 97 pitches for the shut-out victory. For the season, McGorman was just as impressive, striking out 44 batters against just 4 walks in 23 and a third innings of work. Next up for Parksville’s McGorman is the Junior National Team try-out in Ajax, Ontario where he’ll vie for a spot on Canada’s pitching staff.
The semi-final match-up was with yet another Island team, the Victoria Eagles, winners of Pool C. The Royals bats came out strong and the boys in purple were up 6-2 after 5 innings. Trevor Nicoll and Tyler Kolopenuk led the hit parade with 2 apiece. Nicoll also picked up 2 RBI as did Anson McGorman. The defence was solid for both squads with no errors recorded. Starter Ethan Dean didn’t have his best stuff but hung tough and kept Parksville in the lead until the 6th inning when the Eagles struck for 5 runs to take the lead. The north Island crew couldn’t answer back and Parksville’s playoff run was over.
“The boys played their hearts out this weekend and left it all on the field. I couldn’t ask for any more,” said Coach Kaluzniak.
The Royals will now take a break til September 7 when the Fall season starts. “Fall Ball is seven weeks long and we use it to see what we’ve got for next season – who’s moving up and who’s moving on,” says GM Mike Parlow. “Most of the roster spots for the 2022 Senior team will be decided by the middle of October. For the Junior team and the two Bantam teams, it will take a little longer and the final rosters won’t be nailed down til late February or early March.” Interested players between grades 8 & 12 can register online for Royals Fall Ball on the Royals website.