With the B.C. Premier Baseball League being cancelled this year, there have been few opportunities for players to show off their skills in front of scouts.
Parksville Royals general manager Mike Parlow said they had five players (Ryan Deagle, Breydan Riecker and Breandan McLaughlin, Carter Hall and Tyler Kolopenuk) who were candidates to attend the 2020 Tournament 12 organized by the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy. But the much-heralded event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Royals players did get a chance to showcase their skills at the Zack Downey Memorial Tournament that was held in Victoria last weekend. The event drew the interest of Baseball Canada head coach and director of national teams Greg Hamilton, who was scouting for players for the junior national squad. There were also scouts from San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins.
The Royals made a good impression as they finished in second place in the tournament that also featured Victoria Mariners, Victoria Eagles and Mid-Island Pirates of Nanaimo.
The Royals completed the round-robin with a 3-1 record to advance to the semifinal against the Eagles. The Royals put up a good fight against a more-seasoned Eagles team. In the end, the Royals edged the Eagles 5-4 to earn a spot in the final.
Cody Jackson provided the big hit, knocking in two runs on a triple to the power alley in left-center field at Layritz Park. Jackson was hot the entire tournament and is hitting .290 for the fall season with eight RBIs. Seth Gurr and Ethan Dean, both on the heels of strong starts in the round-robin, split pitching duties.
The final had the Royals up against their old nemesis the Mid-Island Pirates. The Pirates handed the Royals their only loss of the round-robin and the Royals were looking for revenge.
Tyler Kolopenuk got the start and the young right-hander delivered as he stifled the experienced Pirates hitters and pitched four scoreless innings in only his second pitching appearance this fall season. He was also strong on defence and at bat, as he leads the Royals with an impressive .517 on-base percentage and has struck out just once in 29 plate appearances.
The Royals led 4-0 but couldn’t hold the hot-hitting Pirates down and they tied it up in the fourth inning.
In the fifth, Keitaro Adachi put the Royals ahead again 6-4 when he batted in two runners. The Royals battled to hold on to the lead but with only 14 players on the bench, the Pirates faded down the stretch to lose 7-6 and settled for second place.
Parlow said overall it was a great weekend for the Royals.
This season, Parlow said, they’ve made the most of it since they were allowed back to play. They have made every effort to draw scouts to area and attend many of their events.
“A scout was up to look at our guys,” said Parlow. “It’s been a silver lining to a very difficult situation. When one scout came to see Parksville’s Anson McGorman pitch in August, he stayed right through both games and kept commenting on how impressed he was with the talent he was seeing.
• On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Parksville Junior Royals hosted the Victoria Junior Eagles. They tied the first game 4-4 but won the second 4-1.