Baseball: Royals nab first win, 5-4 over Big Lake with 7th-inning rally

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Rogers Royals have blown some leads this season on the way to an 0-5 start. On Thursday, they took  the opposite approach and beat BIg Lake 5-4 for their first win.

The Royals were down to their final strike when Neal Smith drove home two runs with a single to knot the score. He wound up scoring the game-winner on a throwing error.

“This was the first game we never led (until the end) and the first time we’ve won,” said coach Brian Harapat. “We’ve been making a lot of errors with big leads, like against Buffalo when were led 6-2 in the sixth (and lost 9-6).”

Rogers starter Dylan Morris was shaky early as the Royals trailed 4-0 after three, but the senior hurler bore down and went  the distance. Morris, allowing six hits and four walks, striking out two, picked up his first win after two losses.

“Dylan had a horrible start but he really settled down,” said Harapat.

Big Lake starter Jake Gearoux took a 4-2 lead into the last of the seventh and was facing the 7-8-9 batters.

“Wouldn’t you know it, we found a way to scratch for three runs,” said Harapat, who got his first win as Royals head coach.

Tyler Antony got on base via an error and Mark Baumtrog knocked  his first hit of the year, a single. A ground out advanced them to second and third.

Smith hit a rocket past the shortstop, scoring both runs, on an 0-2 pitch. He wound up scoring when Big Lake made a bad throw to first on a grounder by Andrew Smith.

Rogers had only five hits, with Neal Smith going 2-for-3, also scoring two runs.

Rogers is 1-3 on the Mississippi 8 and 1-5 overall. Big Lake is 1-3 and 2-4.

The Royals will play at Monticello on Tuesday.