Baseball: Royals bats come alive for 17-16 win over Becker

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Rogers Royals have struggled at the plate this year but hitting was the least of their problems Thursday as they slugged out a 17-16 win over Becker at home.

“I wouldn’t say we pitched the ball or caught the ball  very well, but we really hit the ball! The baseballs were flying here today,” said coach Brian Harapat about his team’s 21-hit attack.

The Royals (4-8) were hitting .235 as a team and averaging 3.2 runs prior to the Becker game.

Neal Smith led off the first inning with the Royals first home run of the season and added two doubles as he finished 3-for-5 with  three runs and four RBI.

Andrew Smith was 4-for-5 (double, triple, three RBI), Tyler Antony 4-for-4 (RBI), Will Terres 3-for-5 (four runs, two RBI), Austin Barbeln 2-for-5 (RBI), Mitch O’Neill 2-for-4 (two doubles off the fence, RBI) and Kyle Halseth 2-for-3 (three runs, two RBI).

Becker (2-7) had 14 hits and nine walks, and used the bunt well to put pressure on the Royal fielders, said Harapat.

Becker had a 16-11 lead in the middle of the fourth, scoring those runs off Blake Shermer, Erik Bremer, Dylan Morris and Brayanlee Santiago-Martinez, before  Santiago-Martinez settled down to throw a scoreless fifth and sixth to pick up the win, and Scott Neubauer got the save with a scoreless, 1-2-3 seventh.

Rogers, which scored three in the last of the sixth to take the lead, has won three of its last four to improve to 2-5 in the Mississippi 8 and 4-8 overall. The Royals will play at STMA on Monday.