Everyone loves an underdog story and the tale of the Carnarvon/Gordon Head South Island Royals baseball team becoming 15-under AA provincial champions fits the bill.
Their dramatic, come-from-behind 9-3 win over Richmond City in the July 31 final at the BC Minor Baseball tournament in Richmond means the Royals will represent B.C. at the Western Canadian Championships in Estevan, Sask. (Aug. 19 to 21).
The Oak Bay/Saanich team faced an uphill battle from the start of the season. Due to a shortage of players of the qualifying age in either association, the two joined forces to create one team.
Combining the Carnarvon Baseball Association and Gordon Head Baseball Association was a move that could have easily backfired, according to Royals head coach, Darrel Richardson.
“We weren’t really sure how it was going to work, (it) had never been done before. And, at least none of us had been involved in something like that,” he said. “That was a little different for most people involved, but in the end, it all worked out great.”
The 15U group rose to the occasion, losing a mere five games out of 34 leading up to the provincials.
In Richmond, the Royals were undefeated in five games heading into the championship final. Trailing 3-2 entering the final inning, they rallied at the plate in their last bats and came away with the solid win.
Richardson said the hard work is far from over, as the team now prepares for an even bigger challenge in Estevan. The Royals’ lineup could look different, with as many as four new players brought in to replace team members unable to attend the Westerns. Two players from Penticton and one from North Delta have already been recruited and Richardson says the team is searching for one final addition.
“It’s something they are never going to forget, so we want it to be fun and a positive experience for them,” he said. “And then, hopefully, the results will take care of themselves.”
Royals team members include Avery Saxon, Bree Lockyer, Cooper Multhauf, Everett Wilke, Jacob Aalhus, Lucas Milne, Lukas Dragicevich, Maelan Gaib, Matt Webb, Nick Robson, Noel Asselin, Paxton Castonguay, Travis Harfield, Wyatt Kilburn, Richardson (head coach), Ted Austin (coach) Craig Asselin (coach) and Jon Milne (coach).
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