Pirates, Royals square off for top-spot bragging rights

Whenever Island rivals Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates and Parksville Royals square off on the British Columbia Premier Baseball League schedule, it’s always an intense affair.

But now that the teams are sitting one-two in one of the country’s best development programs, that rivalry is about to get even hotter Wednesday (May 4) as the Royals visit Serauxmen Stadium at 6 p.m. for the honour of claiming top spot in the 13-team league.

“We always crank it up a notch for them and they do the same against us,” said Pirates manager Doug Rogers. “But it’s been a long time since both teams have been at the top of the league together so this is going to intensify the rivalry tenfold. We’re looking forward to it, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Royals are leading the league with a 7-1 record and a six-game win streak, while Nanaimo is 8-2 with a three-game win streak. The Pirates’ only losses came against Abbotsford and Langley in mid-April.

Rogers said pitching ace Kenton Schroter could get the start on the mound, but the right-hander suffered a bout of strep throat in the last few days and may not have the stamina.

“We’ll have to see how he’s feeling,” said Rogers. “If not Kenton, we’ve got Mike Williams or Nick Smiley. We’ve got a great rotation that can step in and get the job done. Normally on weekday games like this, we’ll give each pitcher an inning or two to get some work, but this is for first place and we’ll use whatever we can to get that win.”

Meanwhile, the Pirates went 2-2 on the weekend at the exhibition Abbotsford Invitational Tournament.

Nanaimo got its first look at the Fraser Valley Chiefs this season but suffered a loss in the game, and then lost to the Victoria Mariners before winning against the Vancouver Cannons and Abbotsford Cardinals.

Rogers said the tournament provided and opportunity for his team to get younger players on the field to get some experience.

“We went over with a plan to make sure all of our young guys play and get some out who haven’t seen a lot of innings. It was more to do with our future, playing these guys will help us out later down the road. We’re going to need these guys throughout the year when there’s graduation or somebody gets sick or injured. This is a development league so it can’t always be starters, starters, starters.”

 

 

 

 

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