Men’s baseball team open season 1-3
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It was a beautiful day out at Whalley Park as the Douglas men’s baseball team kicked off the first of two games of the day in their four-game series against North division rivals Skagit Valley. They had played Skagit twice the day before going into Sunday’s matchup, with both those games being losses. The team looked to prove a point on Sunday.
The first match proved to be a battle of the starting pitchers. The Royals’ Zach Campagne shone through six innings, only allowing four hits and one run. In comparision, Skagit’s pitcher allowed nine hits and two runs in six innings of play.
One run was in the third, when a gorgeous swing granted outfielder Jacob Robazza a double, and allowed fellow outfielder Shoma Sasaki to score on the play. The second score came in the fourth inning. A sacrificial fly ball by infielder Matt Yee allowed fellow infielder Travis Ouellet to tag up at third and score on the play. However, that was all the good news the Royals had left in them.
Going into the seventh, things looked good for Campagne. Two hits, a wild pitch, and a run later, it was apparent that things had changed. Coach Cavanagh Whitely pulled his starter and put in reliever Brett Sakaki who tried to stop the bleeding, but fell short of the mark. A double, followed by a triple gave the visitors two more runs to make the score 4-2. A home run in the 8th inning would seal the Royals’ fate, and they would go on to lose the game 5-2.
After the game Whitely addressed the glaring issues with his squad, and they prepped to play the fourth and final game of the weekend. He also addressed his thoughts on the timing on his pull of Campagne. “We kind of sat back with the lead and hoped they would go away and they didn’t. Zach was on a pretty good roll, so we wanted to give him the seventh. But then he missed some pitches, and walked a guy, and fell behind on some baserunners. Looking back, it’s an easy one to look at and say ‘yeah we probably should have got him out earlier’ but he was pitching so well to that point that we thought we would give him a chance to get through the lineup again.” Campagne would finish the game with six hits, three runs—all of them earned—two walks, and six strikeouts.
The second game of the day was played under much different circumstances, as the weather took a turn for the worse. While the rain held out, the wind did not.
The play also unfolded much differently as well. The Royals got on the scoreboard early, scoring two runs in the first inning off of three hits. Catcher Daniel Keck scored on infielder Shane Wlodarczak’s double, and Robazza scored on Ouellet’s, 4-3.
Skagit was quick to answer, as they scored a run in the following inning on an error by pitcher Cole Russell. They continued to claw back in the fourth, scoring a run on a number of errors by the Royals. Weary of another comeback, infielder Matt Whitehead scored a run for the Royals off of a Yee single.
Russell, who had placed excellently for the Royals, like his teammate Zach, struggled in the seventh. Three hits, one run, and a wild pitch would end Russell’s night, as Whitely yanked him before the lead could be lost. Russell ended the game with five hits, three runs—two of them earned—two walks, and seven strikeouts.
Veteran Calvin Sandhu was called upon to close the game out, but his recovery from an oblique injury was evident as he struggled to finish. He finished the seventh inning for the Royals, before walking a player in the 8th and getting pulled by Whitely.
The Royals would add two scores in that timeframe. One from Ouellet off of a wild pitch, and the other from Ethan Fox off Daniel Keck’s double. Matt Courneya would get the call to close the game out for the Royals, and he made no mistakes, striking out two in two inning, with no hits or runs, to end the game. The win was awarded to Russell with the save being credited to Courneya.
The win gives the Royals their first win of the season, as they advance to 1-3 on the year. After the game Whitely spoke about his hopes and expectations for the team. “We’ve got a young group with a lot of new faces. As a young group, there’s a learning curve. I think if we learn some good lessons, that this will be a push in the right direction.”