Men’s baseball season closes
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
For many baseball teams in the Northwest Athletic Conference, the month of May is one for tuning. For others, the month signifies the start of an epic competition: the race to the playoffs. But this year, for the Royals, the month of May was one for winding down.
The team left April with a record of 2-14 and were already fighting for their playoff lives in the first game of May, which saw them face off against a struggling Olympic College. Right out of the gates, things looked bad for the team. The first two innings saw the error-prone Royals fall into a hole, as starting pitcher Zach Champagne struggled to keep his pitches in the box. Two walks and three errors gave Olympic College a four run lead, and gave Douglas College a mountain to climb. They would claw back one run in the third, but went scoreless until the eighth, where they were able to bring in another run. However, a pitching collapse by the Royals would see six Olympic batters score runs, and all but ended the team’s hope of a comeback. They would end the game with a good effort in the ninth but were stopped short of scoring a run. The final score was 11-2 for Olympic College. With that loss, the Royals were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
However, their season was far from over. With seven games left, the Royals went out prove to themselves that they were better than their record. They did exactly that, going on to win two of their last seven, with one of the two wins being the pinnacle of the Royals’ season. During the team’s last home game against Edmonds College, starting pitcher Liam Kano-McGregor pitched a shutout. In 9 innings, Kano-McGregor struck out six, walked one, and allowed three hits. It was a game for the record books, and certainly one that demonstrated just how much the team had improved since the start of the season. Shoma Sasaki, Ethan Fox, and Matt Yee provided the scoring for the team, with Sasaki scoring three runs, Fox scoring two, and Yee finishing one. This highlight would cap off the Royals season, as they would go to lose their final two games.
Although the team did not end the season where they wanted, they have shown significant improvements since the beginning of the season. The pitching squad department have developed into very fine pitchers this year, but one of the bunch stood out amongst his peers. Kano-McGregor started the year in the bullpen as a reliever, but through hard work and consistent play, earned a spot in the starting rotation. In just his second game as a starter, he pitched a shutout game and led the team to its fourth win of the season. He ended the season with the Royals’ lowest ERA at 3.18. In a team leading total of 34 innings of work, Kano-McGregor struck out 19 batters.
In the batting department, it was no secret that the Royals struggled this year. But despite an all-around poor swinging year, several players found a way to hit balls for the team. Of this elite group, one batter in particular had a standout season. Sasaki finished his last season with the Royals with a bang, leading the team with 21 hits. He had the team’s second highest batting average at 0.269, and runners batted in with eight.
Although the team didn’t get to where they wanted to this year, the young guns on the squad definitely proved themselves able, especially towards the end of the season. Every team has down years. Just watch out for this team next year.