Royals Softball have long week ahead of them
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It’s going to be a long week ahead of the Royals softball team. They play six games in about four days. Those six games are going to be spread out in the form of three series. However, after last week, the coming week may reveal more than the Royals had anticipated.
While their games against Edmonds Community College may have been rescheduled (date not yet announced), that may have been for the best. Olympic College put the team through more than anticipated, even though the Royals came away with two wins at the end of it.
The Royals batters had quite the series against Olympic College, putting up 29 runs in 2 games. But it was a nightmare for the Royals’ pitchers. Olympic College put up 10 runs in 2 games, which for the Royals was fairly high. Game one saw Keeley Ainge pitch four innings, allowing three hits and one earned run with one strikeout. She was relieved after four to give Megan Palmer her NWAC debut. Palmer did her job pretty well. She closed the game in the fifth inning, allowing one hit. The low-scoring affair was typical of the Royals. It was the next game where it got odd.
Kira Staley got the start for the Royals, but it didn’t last too long. She pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout, before being relieved by Keeley Ainge. Keeley fared a bit better, but only a bit. She had a rough start, allowing five runs, four of them earned, in the third inning before pitching four run-less innings to close the game.
While Keeley managed to bail the team out in the later innings, the obvious concern is wear and tear. She pitched 120 pitches combined, which is a bit on the high side for it being so early in the season. But it seems that it worked out, as the series against Edmonds Community College was cancelled and to be rescheduled.
That means the next team the Royals will face is Highline Community College. Highline sit sixth in the North division, and have a record of 5–7. Not the greatest, but their scores say more than their record. An offensively loaded team, Highline is talented at hitting, but not so much defending. If the Olympic series showed us anything, it’s that you won’t be able to outswing the Royals, even if they let you try. This should be a 2–0 for the Royals. My guess is in 12 innings, but it could be 10 or 14 depending on the scoring.
On the Friday, the Royals play the 8th place Skagit Valley, who have a record of 2–8. This series practically speaks for itself: 2–0 Royals, 10 innings. Should be an easy one here, but it doesn’t mean fatigue can’t set in.
Saturday sees the Royals take on third place Pierce College. Pierce has been okay this season. With a record of 5–2, they have been one of the better teams in the North division, and it isn’t a fluke. The Pierce team has shown a little bit of everything. Their bats are big, and their runs scored are usually in the high single digits or double digit range. They are also defensively pretty set. They’ve shown that they are able to keep the score low, which is something the Royals have also shown.
To predict who’s going to take this series will be difficult. It’s going to be interesting to watch the storyline of Kira Staley this weekend. The rookie had a couple great showings to start the season, but has since struggled. Is it time to bring someone out from the bullpen to push for that number two spot? Maybe. Staley will likely have chances to prove herself against Highline and Skagit Valley, but I have to think that if she underperforms, the Royals will go for a different number two pitcher against Pierce.
All in all, I want to say 2–0 Royals, but I’m comfortable say 1–1. This means 5–1 on the week, or 6–0 in the best scenario. Because Edmonds lost last week (shocking I know), the Royals are currently in first due to win percentage. If they remain undefeated, they will continue to hold that. If they lose one game, they will tie with Edmonds. If they lose more than one game, they will finish the week in second.
Overall, it’s going to be a pretty great week for softball.