Royals lose 16-4 to Bismarck State in Mon-Dak Tournament, ending season

Chuck Wickenhofer

By Chuck Wickenhofer

Journal Reporter

The Lake Region State College baseball team was eliminated from the Mon-Dak Tournament on Saturday at Legion Field in Roosevelt Park, losing to Bismarck State 16-4.

Playing the role of the visiting team, the Royals were able to get on the board in their half of the first inning after loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. A wild pitch scored Jeremy Moran from third, advancing both runners in the process.

That was all the scoring the Royals would manage after a pop fly to the infield and a strikeout ended the threat.

Royals pitcher Bryce Karl found it difficult to get into a rhythm early, though head coach Kyal Williams had the starter he wanted to face the Mystics.

“Karl pitched last time against Bismarck and he threw a seven inning shutout, so we had the guy on the mound we wanted,” Williams said.

The Mystics played small ball in the first, reaching on an infield single, advancing to second on a steal, then taking third on a wild pitch. A walk and a stolen base followed, which loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly tied the game, then Karl struck out the next batter.

It appeared that the Royals might get out the inning with minimal damage until Mystics shortstop Jared Walters cranked a shot over the left field fence to give his team a 4-1 lead.

The Mystics never looked back after that.

After the Royals were retired in their half of the second, the Mystics tacked on three more runs in bottom of the inning, knocking Karl out of the game and taking a 7-1 lead.

Williams attributed his pitcher’s struggles to falling behind in the count early.

“We just have to get ahead in the count. A lot of the time we were 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, and it doesn’t matter how good of a pitcher you are,” Williams said. “It makes it a lot easier for the hitting side when you can relax and see a pitch you can swing at as hard as you can, and still have another shot at the next pitch.”

Though the Royals attempted to climb back into the game, scoring a couple of runs in the fourth to close the gap to 9-4, the Mystics were relentless. A two-run fourth inning and a five-run fifth made the score 16-4, and the game was over.

Though the season ended for the Royals Saturday, bringing their overall record to 12-25, they were able to win the first game of the tournament. Williams was able to find plenty of positives in his first season with the team.

“It’s been a great season. It’s been tough for the boys, three coaches in three years, it’s never easy,” Williams said. “I think they’ve done a fantastic job in that sense.”

Still, the first-year coach found the loss hard to swallow.

“It’s tough, it might take me two or three days to know what to say (to the team),” Williams said. “It’s a heartbreaker.”