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Greenberg Dominates as Waggoner, Fiorello, and Lachman Lead Resurgent Royals to Doubleheader Sweep

By Charles Lachman, Larry Lachman, 05/24/24, 4:00AM CDT


“Sweep”.  A word absent from the Royals’ vocabulary since the third week of the season finally reemerged as the Royals took care of business on Sunday, never trailing for a minute.  In the first game against Silverman’s Rangers, a second inning spark put the Royals ahead, and a crucial three-run sixth sealed the deal in their 10 – 7 triumph.  In the nightcap against Garber’s A’s, a big fifth inning propelled the Royals to an 11 – 1 run-rule victory.

For the fifth time this season, the Royals’ stellar pitching and defense yielded 10 runs or fewer in their combined doubleheader games.  Royals’ pitcher, Scott Greenberg, turned in a dominant pitching performance – allowing only eight runs over 11 innings.  His masterful pitching performance was backed by an inspired and – at times – spectacular Royals’ defense.

Drew Waggoner, who returned to full-time play this year after a five-year hiatus, was a perennial fixture in the top five picks of the annual TSSL draft and considered one of the elite shortstops in the league.  That is, however, until he was abducted by aliens and taken to another planet, where they demanded he teach them how to play softball.  Five years later Waggoneer returned to Earth and to the league.   Now, six years older, the Royals’ versatile left centerfielder with a cannon for an arm showed he hasn’t lost a step, playing lockdown shortstop in Kyzer Hoover’s absence, and demonstrating the tremendous range and agility he was once known for.  David Fiorello’s versatility and stellar defense at third base played a crucial role in preventing or ending multiple opponent rallies.  Additionally, Charles Lachman – in his first game back for the 2024 season, a seasoned KU Jayhawk having just completed his freshman year – hit for a combined cycle over the doubleheader.

In the opener against the Rangers – playing on field 2 with the wind blowing out to right centerfield at 12 mph – the Royals scored quickly as Waggoner launched his first of two homeruns with one out in the top of the first inning.  

The Royals exploded for five runs in the second inning as the middle and bottom of the order came through.  Scott Greenberg singled and moved to third on David Fiorello’s first of two doubles, scoring on Ryan Greenberg’s RBI singleA sacrifice fly by Andy Wetterlin scored Fiorello, and singles by Adwild Perez and Aaron Bartelson set the stage for Larry Lachman, who delivered a clutch, two-run double, putting the Royals up 6 – 0.  Matt Leslie’s solo shot in the third padded the lead to 7 – 0.

Meanwhile, Greenberg’s pitching stifled the Rangers’ formidable, power-laden lineup until the fifth inning, when former Royal, Ben Enlow, and Tim Jamieson each whacked two-run homers, and Jason Niswonger knocked in two with a double, and in the blink of an eye, the game was tied at 7 – 7.

With the momentum shifting, the Royals needed to produce some firepower on offense, and Waggoner was happy to oblige as he led off the Royals’ half of the sixth inning.  “It is high, it is far, it is GONE!” – if only John Sterling had been there to call Waggoner’s second blast as the Royals reclaimed the lead at 8 – 7.  Having gone 0 – 2 with two lazy flyouts to his name, Charles came to bat, rediscovered his timing, drove the ball over the left center fielder’s head, legging out a triple, and scored when Leslie drove him in with a sacrifice fly.  The Greenbergs combined to provide one more insurance run when Scott singled and came around to score on Ryan’s RBI double to complete the Royals’ scoring.

In the bottom of the frame, Greenberg faced the minimum of three batters as Waggoner sealed the deal with a 6–3 double play to end the game and secure the victory.

Game 1 Offensive Stars

Drew Waggoner  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, 2 HR, GWRBI
Scott Greenberg  3 – 3, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 2B
David Fiorello  2 – 3, 1 Run, (2) 2B 
Scott Greenberg  2 – 3, 2 Runs
Aaron Bartelson  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI
Matt Leslie  1 – 2, 1 Run, 2 RBI, SF,
Adwild Perez  1 – 2, 1 Run, BB
Larry Lachman  1 – 2, 2 RBI, 2B

In the nightcap, Charles and Fiorello had three hits apiece to pace the Royals’ 18-hit attack in their victory over the A’s.  The final score belies how close the game was through four innings as Greenberg outdueled A’s ace, Justin Howard on field 4 with the wind blowing directly in at 12 mph from center field.

The Royals held a precarious 2 – 1 lead after three innings, with Charles’ RBI infield single in the first, and Fiorello scoring on a fielder’s choice in the second.  But as it turns out, those two runs were all the Royals needed as Greenburg pitched a gem, scattering five singles with zero walks across five frames.  It took a few innings, but the Royals’ offense eventually burst the game wide open.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Charles drove the first pitch he saw straight into the right centerfield gap.  As the ball rolled to the fence, Charles – In the blink of an eye – rounded first, second, third, and then beat the relay throw home for an exhilarating inside-the-park homerun.  This seemed to ignite the Royals’ offense.  Leslie singled, and Scott produced a near carbon copy of Charles’ at-bat, legging out a triple.  Fiorello’s RBI single extended the Royals’ lead to 5-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the bottom of the order came through again.  With Bartelson on first, Chris Peterson stepped into the box and blasted the ball for an RBI double.  With one run in and only one out, the top of the order took it from there to break the game open in a parade of hits.  Tommy Apligian doubled and scored on Waggoner’s RBI single, Charles’ RBI double scored Waggoner from first, Leslie’s second homerun of the doubleheader – this one an inside-the-park job – brought in Charles, and then the ageless wonder, Scott Greenberg, followed with his second triple of the game!  Fiorello’s RBI single sealed the game with a commanding 10-run lead, invoking the mercy of the run rule after five innings.

Game 2 Offensive Stars

Charles Lachman  3 – 3, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, GWRBI
David Fiorello  3 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI 
Andy Wetterlin  2 – 2
Scott Greenberg  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, (2) 3B
Matt Leslie  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI,
Tommy Apligian  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 2B
Drew Waggoner  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI
Chris Peterson  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 2B

Greenberg Dominates as Waggoner, Fiorello, and Lachman Lead Resurgent Royals to Doubleheader Sweep