Royals Fall To Cavaliers
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Apr 21, 2014, 09:45
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/ News Patriot
Down by four runs, with two outs and bases loaded in the seventh inning, the scene would have been the epitome of cinematic for the Prince George Royals on Thursday evening.
Jackson Rivera stepped up to the plate with a chance to avenge a Clover Hill grand slam at the top of the inning that gave the Cavaliers their first and dominant lead of the game.
A reciprocal smack over the fence would have essentially been the equivalent of a last minute buzzer beater from half court to tie the game back up, and Preston Stringer eagerly inched forward off of third base waiting for the slightest chance to speed home.
With Montae Bradshaw on second and Travis Wyatt on first, Rivera swung hard connecting with the ball, and for a second the sound of aluminum hitting leather emanated a wave of 'could-it-be's' throughout the bleachers.
But this home run hope was short lived as the ball popped up high over home plate and was caught by Clover Hill to seal the win, and send the Royals home with a 9-5 loss.
"I give Clover Hill credit. They're a good, scrappy ball club. They played hard. And their guys produced at the right time," said Prince George head coach Mickey Roberts.
For Prince George, the defeat was characterized by atypical errors including dropped catches and bad passes, a style of play that Roberts has not seen much this season.
"I've got Mark King who's played shortstop for me for four years, and he made two or three errors. That's just out of the ordinary," Roberts said.
Roberts thought that the pitching was not a proper display of the team's defensive capabilities, allowing multiple walks and producing less strikeouts than he would prefer.
"When we play, we've got to be pretty flawless on defense. We've got to have our pitchers pumping strikes," Roberts said.
With Jackson Rivera pitching for Prince George, the Royals started off strong defensively forcing six consecutive outs with no hits or errors in the first two innings.
However, Rivera proceeded to give up four runs in the next three innings and losing pitcher Joey Runion gave up five runs in just two innings.
Both Rivera and Runion had two strikeouts each in the loss.
In the eleven games Prince George has played, they have only given up more than five runs in three of them.
Winning pitcher Will Midgette for Clover Hill pitched all seven innings and only had one strikeout, but forced the Royals to make plays that were readily defended by the Cavaliers outfield, who gave up Prince George's five runs in two innings.
Bradshaw earned an early lead for the Royals in the second inning, a lead they would keep until Clover Hill caught up in the sixth inning.
And when Chris King hammered a grand slam for the Cavaliers in the seventh inning, the Royals were behind for the first time in the game, and put into a desperate position.
Jordan Nase had two RBIs and a run in the loss, and Mark King and Brody Rotzoll each had an RBI as well
Roberts knows the season is far from over, and will use the loss as a learning experience, but otherwise tell his team to stand right back up and start over in the next game.
"This one's over with. There's nothing we can do about this one. We're looking forward. In baseball, you've got to have a very short memory, and that definitely applies here. We've got a lot of baseball to play yet this year," Roberts said.
And it seems as if the Royals were able to put the loss in the rearview, rolling over Monacan in an 8-2 win on Friday night.