Royals regalness came slowly

Armena Royals 2015

The 2015 Armena Royals celebrate after a somewhat surprising and dominating playoff run. The Royals won 14-4 (5), 3-0, 15-5 (5) and 6-5 (5) to go 4-0 in the two playoff series.

Eight years ago the word regal and Royals (The Armena version) went together about as well as water and oil. But it was that team and those players who kept it all going when the field, players and jerseys were left to be wanting.

With the help of the Armena Athletic Association and a few core players, 2008 kept the team breathing.

It’s hard to imagine the Armena Royals winning the league any sooner than this year. The 2012 edition did something magical, which at the time, seemed like destiny. In actuality the better overall team probably won – in Leduc. They had more experience in the big, close games that shawn through in the end.

This year, the Royals had six players from that team and another five who had PBL playoff experience. The bitterness of defeat helped make this year’s version a little extra sweet. And not just playoff defeats, but crushing defeats at the hands of teams all through 2008-2011. Cole Tomaszewski and Clark Banack were the remaining duo from the 2008 season that saw the Royals win one game and crawl to the finish. That team today, is as much champions as the 2015 edition.

“It’s extra sweet because sitting next to me is Cole (Tomaszewski),” Banack said from the Brewhouse in Camrose. “We’re talking a lot about that 2008 season.”

Adam Johnson was another one who tasted bitter defeat a time or two prior to this year. In 2006 as a rookie his Armena Axemen were felled by the Bardo Athletics in the final. He lost with them again in 2007 versus the Camrose Roadrunners. Then the Milleteers in 2012. Fourth time was finally a charm.

Johnson, who grew up just down the road, was a big reason for the recent upswing the last couple years. Not only was his play on the field solid, he brought in veteran talent with friends from school, like Dean Prpick and David Ritz, but also found rookie Kyler Charchun (in a hockey rink of course), a second-generation Armena men’s ball player.

And last but not least, the Sherbaniuks. Ian came aboard in 2010 when the lean years were just beginning. He brought Landon Miller, and his brother Zenan, an all star on most nights, which led to the acquisitions of Doug Morris and Lyndon Galvin. The Sherbaniuk family missed a family vacation for the 2012 championship. Hopefully this was a little payback for that disappointment!

But, this old author shouldn’t dwell on the past too much. This year’s team was different yet the same as many. But as in any championship year, so many stars must align. Having Jordan Hoover and Sheldon Petryshen at SS and catcher most nights was a boon. This led to the ability to somehow win the close games early on, and comeback on other nights when it didn’t seem possible. Having almost NO RAINOUTS in the league, and only ONE to end the year also benefitted Armena. The season ended on the earliest date ever seen by this author’s 17 years associated with the league.

They met Beaumont in the first round thanks to a tiebreaker and got to go on the road in game one, which is ideal. It also helped sophomores Lyndon Galvin and Doug Morris get fired up against their hometown. Somehow, Rosalind did what the Royals maybe could not. A matchup with the Rebels would have been difficult. Although the Royals have had much success against Ryley in playoffs, the big-hitting Rebels were always a tough matchup. Rosalind was a different ball of wax, but having Rosalind and Ryley beat each other up for three games and use up pitching ultimately left the surging Royals in a great spot to capitalize.

This year’s team believed for once. At the slumping point after blowouts at the hands of Rosalind and Holden, all looked lost. But again, this team had learned, and kept going.

It took many years, many losses, many faces and many nights in the dugout wondering what went wrong. For a few months, the cup is back in Armena. And this bias author can’t be prouder of both the current and past Armena ball players, who, if the trophy had individual names, would all be there side-by-side with the 2015s if I had a say.

Congrats to this year’s Royals and the league on another great season.

Posted in Armena Royals, Buzzilinear, PBL
  • Corey Lidle

    Is it not a rule that championship games have to be 7 innings? Tough way to lose a championship only playing 13 innings. Just a thought for maybe next year?

    • Clark

      Yeah, really bizarre, anti-climactic, and unfortunate end to the season. The Royals certainly did not want it to end that way either and simply assumed that we would have to finish off the game at another time. It was about 5 minutes after Doug called the game that it became clear that it was in fact a final and we were declared champs and what followed was probably the most awkward championship celebration in league history. Of course, we were definitely feeling pretty good about our chances after things kind of came off the rails for the A’s in the 6th but they certainly had the sticks to potentially come back so it was unfortunate we couldn’t get 7 in. Anyway, another year in the books and another rule that can be debated and clarified at the league meeting in the spring. And hats off to Rosalind for a great season. Truly a talented and classy team that has added much to our league.

    • Buzzilinear

      We specifically have written the game will only be played out at the next location if the game was tied. This is a legacy rule from many moons ago and maybe should be deleted or updated:

      Baseball Alberta/Canada championships are to be played out, but not sure this qualifies – so we could write a specific rule for PBL Playoffs…

  • Bruce

    Armena had scored a few run in the top of 6, I believe it was 10-5 with a runner on 3rd and one out with Armena still batting when the game was called, so maybe that’s why they didn’t finish at another date, looked like the teams discussed and armena wanted to play 7 as well. Wasn’t as close as 6-5 looks though, so maybe the teams decided it wasn’t worth playing an inning and a half on Thurs and paying umps when the A’s were down by 5 or 6? Don’t know though.

  • Bruce

    Congrats Royals and Buzzle! Well earned

  • Darnell McGregor

    The veteran ump said he has seen skies such as those many a time at the homer dome. With the prevailing winds and the sky looking as it did he made an assessment, and as God is my witness is what the correct assessment. The safety of the players is the ump’s utmost concern. The unforgiving skies told the story, and the storm surely came, just as he had predicted.

    With the score already being 10-5 the hometown A’s knew they had been beaten. It was out of character for the A’s to implode as they did in the top of the sixth, but it just wasn’t in the proverbial cards for the A’s this year. Armena, being the relentless beast that they are, laid down two perfectly executed bunts to add much needed insurance to their lead. I suspect the grizzled veteran Clark Banack made the call, and watched with pride as his men completed the task with ease. So I will bid adieu and tip my fitted cap to the Armena Royals and their much earned PBL championship…

    However, one can’t help but wonder if the script would have been altered if the sure-handed Dan Enright was around to make his contributions. I suspect the A’s will learn from this experience and be back next year gunning for a title to call their own. And believe me you, they will be back in the finals. One thing we know about the Enrights, is they will be back, and in great numbers.

  • Steve

    Its unfortunate that it ended that way, but it sounds like Armena was on their way to busting it open anyway so the controversy is lessened.

    We discussed the issue of rainouts in the playoffs in the past but we kept it to regular season rules for a number of reasons.

    Even in playoffs it’s hard to justify getting off work early and driving an hour plus to play a half inning of baseball. Then factor in paying the umps. And finally due to this being senior ball it’s not like you will have the same lineup show up to complete the game either.

    Tough situation but I think the better team won this year anyway, congrats to the Royals.