Spring break is a great time for baseball as the Royals baseball team was able to head south to get outside for practice and play some games. This year Lake Region travelled to Tucson Arizona for 10 games against good competition.
The Royals travelled the 9th and 10th of March to get to Tucson late on Friday night. Saturday was the first full day in the sun and heat they boys have not experienced before. The team outside practice of the season to be able to work on ground balls, fly balls, situations, positioning and hitting before their first games. The boys looked extremely good for not being outside before, footwork and throws were on the money and the energy was high from the whole team.
Sunday March 12th was opening day for the Royals, they found themselves matched up against Valley City State University JV. It was a tough game and the Royals fell behind early giving up 8 in the first two innings. Credit to the team as they didn't quit and fought back. They had a chance to tie and take the lead in the top of the 7th scoring 4 and having 2 runners on, they were just unable to get one more run over the plate. The final being VCSU JV 12 LRSC 11. The standouts for the game for the Royals were Cesar Bernal, Jon Lund and Landyn Swenson who all recorded multiple hits. Ryan Clark took the mound to start the game and recorded his first loss of the year.
The second game of that day for the Royals was against Fraser Valley which is a four year club team out of Canada. The Royals but up a great fight early, putting pressure on with runners on base and timely hits to get the game moving. Unfortunately, Frasers older players and experience won out. A tough middle inning did the most damage to the Royals on defense. The pitchers struggled and started falling behind in counts. This led to walks, which led to errors in the field and their score ticking over. The Royals never stopped fighting but the damage was done. The final score Fraser 15 LRSC 3. Jared Gesell and Jon Lund lead the offense with multiple hits. Ryan Alain took the loss for the Royals as he started the day on the mound.
After two tough game on Sunday, Monday looked to be a new day for Lake Region State College. The first game for the Royals was against Illinois Institute of Technology JV. Sophomore Cesar Bernal gave us a great pitching performance to get the win with Tyler Renken coming in for the save. The Royals defense was strong all day which helped give them their first win of the spring. Jared Gesell racked up 2 hits with five more players getting on the scoreboard. Head Coach Kyal Williams said, "It was great to see the team win a close fought game with high pressure on the line."
The second game of the day brought Central Lakes College from Minnesota. Coming from a good win earlier in the day the Royals spirit and energy was high, especially at the chance of a sweep. They started off hot, scoring 8 runs in the second inning. Solid defense behind Bryce Hunt kept them in the lead throughout. Bryce Hunt threw 5 innings with Jon Lund finishing the last 2 innings off. Finishing the game 8-2 and taking another win for the Royals. Jon Lund, Landyn Swenson, Cesar Bernal and Brett Boudreau picking up 2 hits apiece, and with 3 others recording hits. Head Coach Kyal Williams said, "It was another great team performance to finish the day."
On Tuesday March 14th the Royals matchup up with Mayville State JV. The game got away from the Royals early and they just never found their stride. Bridger Urban did a fantastic job on the mound with a tough lineup to pitch too. They scored early to put pressure on the Royals defense and offense. Six players recorded hits on the day, it just was not enough to produce runs. LRSC ended up losing 15-2 in five innings to Mayville JV. Bridger Urban recorded his first loss of the year.
After a tough morning the Royals energy was still high and they hoped they could finish with a .500 record before their off day. The afternoon matchup was against Concordia University WI JV. Through 7 innings of the game it was a battle. Both teams not willing to give an inch in what turned out to be a highly contested one that ended in a 2-1 victory for the Royals. Head Coach Kyal Williams said, "These games really show the character of your team, and see if the pressure will not overcome them. And for us we stood strong and made great plays in the field to come out ahead on the day in a 2-1 win." Landyn Swenson, Jared Gesell, Jon Lund and Cesar Bernal come up with hits to give us our two runs. Jared Gesell was exceptional on the mound being a bulldog and never backing down to throw a complete game win and give us a 3-3 record in the spring.
Thursday March 16th we played Benedictine University at Mesa JV. A very strong team with their Varsity one of the best teams in the country. The Royals played hard and kept close and had a chance to take the lead but in the end could not find that timely hit or pass ball to give them the break they needed. Landyn Swenson and Logan put hits on the board. Ryan Alain and Tyler Renken fought hard on the mound to keep the game as close as possible. The Royals fall to Benedictine JV 10-1. Ryan Alain recorded his first loss on the mound for the year.
A second chance matchup versus Fraser Valley and the Royals were ready to play. A 2 inning 11 run explosion spelled trouble for the Royals. They found a way to fight back and score 5 runs to try and get the momentum back. Unfortunately, they couldn't keep the pressure on with the final Fraser 16 LRSC 5 in Five Innings of baseball. Landyn Swenson and Jared Gesell put great pressure recording 3 hits each. Ryan Clark started to find his natural rhythm again and looked good on the mound. He recorded the loss on the day.
Back to back games versus Fraser saw the Royals come in with a sense of purpose and wanted to win at least one time against them. Bryce Hunt on the mound the Royals knew they were in the game the whole time as he had complete control all game. LRSC took the lead 4-1 through 4 innings of baseball. Then Fraser started finding holes in the Royals outfield to start ticking over the scoreboard to take a 9-4 lead which ended up being the final. LRSC's offense kept fighting but just couldn't break the balance and momentum. Jared Gesell and Jon Lund recorded multiple hit game, with five others getting a hit. Despite his best efforts on the mound Bryce Hunt records his first loss of the year.
The Royals last game of the spring trip was against Augsburg College JV. Knowing it was their last game in warm sun and good fields the Royals Start hot scoring 2 runs in the top of the first giving them a great boost of confidence. However, walks led to them falling behind 6-2. Head Coach Kyal Williams said, "We had to find a way to keep fighting and found it in the 5th with a great team effort scoring 3 and being back within striking distance. I was proud of our guys not quitting." However, the final push came up just short as the last two innings the Royals just could not find the scoreboard and lost a nail bitter 7-5. Landyn Swenson and Jon Lund came up with two hits each, with Bryce Hunt and Brett Boudreau each getting a hit. Bridger Urban kept us in the game and pitched extremely well. Cesar Bernal recorded the loss on the day.
Head Coach Kyal Williams said, "Overall we played hard in every game, even when they were on the back foot they kept on fighting getting runners on, pitching well and high energy on the bench is something we look forward to for the rest of the spring. We know now exactly what we have to keep improving, and moving forward." He continued, "I am extremely proud of this team, how hard they fought in every game, and how much they kept pushing each other. It is one of the best gelled group I have ever been a part of, and gives me great hope for our season. I cannot wait to see us put it all together and see how good we can be. They just have to believe in themselves and each other."