The Parksville Royals were in action at Serauxmen Stadium in Nanaimo on Sunday, enjoying the early spring weather in their first outdoor action since last fall.
Playing two exhibition games, the Royals were able to get a good look at some of the hopefuls looking to crack the roster later this month and be there for opening day in early April.
Assistant Coach Bruce Biro was happy to finally see the team get to spend some time outside after the weather forced them indoors at Arbutus Meadows.
“You really couldn’t ask for much more,” Biro said. “Even the way the weather was looking on Saturday, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get the games in on Sunday. But, thankfully, the clouds held off and we were able to get in two games with the sun shining down.”
The Royals had a rough season last year, winning just six games, but are looking to turn things around both defensively and with the bats.
Head coach Dave Wallace said he likes what he’s seen thus far, and even though it’s still early, he has high hopes heading into this season.
“We’ve seen some very good things so far from these kids. They really hit the ball well on the weekend and I think we’re going to be much better with the bat this year,” Wallace said.
“Our level of play is going to be a lot higher this year. We have more experience and we’re going to be a lot more competitive this year. We’ll be a young team still but we’re going to be better.”
Facing the Nanaimo Pirates, the Royals looked good on the field. The batting and pitching looked good for the first time outside in over six months.
“There were a number of positives for us,” Wallace said. “Our seniors played great, our pitching was very encouraging. The kids threw strikes and threw for velocity. We hit the ball real good and ran the bases aggressively. There were a few things that we know we have to still work on, of course, but overall it was very encouraging.”
The Royals currently have 25 players on their roster and will look to trim it down to at least 18 players by the end of the month. It’s a decision that won’t come easy but it’s also a positive sign of things to come, according to Wallace.
“We’ve got a lot of young, athletic kids that will be good for the next two to three years. Just because they might not make the team this year won’t mean that they won’t be back the following season,” Wallace said.
“It’s a good thing to have when you really have to sit down and evaluate a thing like this because it just goes to show that our product is really making strides and that’s an encouraging sign.”
The Royals are at home this weekend and will host both the Victoria Mariners and Victoria Eagles, starting at 11 a.m. at Inouye-Wallace Field.