In the midst of the 2023 season, the Royals have showcased extraordinary performances, despite facing a minor setback in the opening game of their crucial doubleheader against Weinfeld’s Pirates and Ruckel’s Bananas. Following a 10 – 5 loss to the Pirates, the Royals bounced back in spectacular fashion with a resounding 22 – 3 victory over the Ruckel-less Bananas. The Royals’ impressive victory, coupled with a doubleheader loss by the first-place Iron Pigs sets the stage for a winner-take-all showdown between the two teams next week. With the division championship hanging in the balance, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
In the opener, the Pirates started strongly, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first, as their ace, Scott Lawrence, outdueled Royals' pitcher, Brad Parr, in a hard-fought battle. Seeking redemption from their earlier 19 – 9 loss against the Royals, when the Royals set a single-game franchise record by hitting eight homeruns, Lawrence, pitched a masterpiece as he scattered 11 hits across six innings, effectively keeping the Royals’ sluggers off-balance for most of the game.
Though the Royals managed to collect 11 hits and draw two walks, they struggled to find key hits and ended up leaving seven runners stranded. Despite putting up a valiant effort, the Royals fell short, with the Pirates emerging victorious.
Game 1 Offensive Stars
Brad Parr 2 – 2, 1 Run, 2 RBI, HR
Jon Kilburn 2 – 3, 1 Run
Paul Villarroel 2 – 3, 1 Run
Tae Lee 2 – 3, 1 Run
Brad Stanford 1 – 2, BB
Charles Lachman 1 – 3, 2 RBI
Liam Kilburn 1 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 2B
However, the Royals refused to let the defeat dampen their spirits as they faced off against the third-place Bananas in the pivotal nightcap of their doubleheader. Both teams recognized the significance of this game for playoff seeding, and the Royals – fueled by a renewed energy and determination – regrouped and displayed the pillars of their season: exceptional pitching, a relentless offense, and a formidable defense as they overwhelmed the Bananas, 22 – 3. With their sights set on victory, every swing of the bat and every flawless defensive play exemplified the Royals’ determination to emerge victorious and secure the 2 seed in the Irwin Kaufman division.
With an explosive display of power hitting and timely hitting, the Royals left no doubt about their talent and depth, effectively delivering a clear message to their rivals. Led by standout performances from Jon Kilburn, Darius Wu, Tony Lowery, Paul Villarroel, and Tim Kaminski, the Royals exploded for six runs in the top of the first, setting the tone for the game.
The second inning showcased the Royals’ offensive prowess in its full glory as the team batted around the lineup for the seventh time this season, sending 14 batters to the plate. The Royals capitalized on every opportunity, as they parlayed nine hits (seven singles, one triple, and one homerun), a walk, and an error to ignite a 10-run uprising.
Jon led the relentless offensive assault, making his presence felt with two colossal 2-run homeruns in the Royals’ 6-run first and 10-run second innings. Wu contributed with four hits and four RBIs, while Kaminski continued his stellar season by blasting his 14th homerun.
Lowery’s contributions were equally vital to the Royals’ success, as his leadoff single in the second inning set the tone for the remarkable offensive surge. He went 2 – 2 in the inning, including a bases-clearing triple that served as the exclamation point on the 10-run outburst.
The game ended after 4 innings by virtue of the run rule, with the Royals up by 19, marking the Royals’ fifth run-rule victory this season.
The Royals unleashed a barrage of nine extra-base hits – five doubles, one triple, and three fence homeruns – sealing the victory.
Game 2 Offensive Stars
Darius Wu 4 – 4, 4 Runs, 4 RBI, (2) 2B
Tony Lowery 3 – 3, 1 Run, 4 RBI, 3B
Liam Kilburn 2 – 2, 1 Run, BB
Jon Kilburn 2 – 3, 2 Runs, 4 RBI, 2 HR
Tim Kaminski 2 – 3, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, BB, HR
Paul Villarroel 2 – 4, 2 Runs, 4 RBI, 2B
Brad Parr 2 – 3, 1 Run, 2B
Brad Stanford 2 – 4, 3 Runs
Tae Lee 2 – 3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 2B
Charles Lachman 1 – 3, 3 Runs, BB
Looking ahead, the Royals’ dominant victory over the Bananas not only secured the 2 seed in the division but also served as a statement of intent. Their explosive offense, unwavering spirit, determination, and resilience have set the stage for an epic winner-take-all showdown against the division-leading Iron Pigs next Sunday at 8:00 am. As fate would have it, the Iron Pigs encountered unexpected setbacks in their doubleheader, opening the door for the Royals to seize control of their own destiny. However, they are well aware that they must defeat their formidable division rivals head-on to catapult them to the top spot. The upcoming clash will determine the Irwin Kaufman division champion and bolster the Royals’ quest to secure the league championship and etch their names in TSSL history.
Royals Split Doubleheader, Clinch 2 Seed in Division and Set Up Epic Showdown