Give way to your opponent; thus will you gain the crown of victory.
Much of the 2015 ballad to the Royals cited the many years of heartache and old-man lamenting it took to rise from the ashes. This year. It’s all about the boys. Now men.
They wear a crown like ’84, ’02 and ’15 did. But as this group is connected as ever to the past, they’ve begun their own (hi)story.
That began with one of the best starts in Armena men’s baseball history at 8-0 before, as so often happens, they stumbled against the Holden Blue Jays and Edmonton Expos to fall to 8-2. Along that 8-0 run, veteran Clark Banack, the lone survivor connected to the modern day Royals rebirth, said, “There’s something about this team Buzz. I don’t know what is is. But you can just sense it.”
Those prophetic words rose true as the team bounced back with a couple wins before finishing in first place, which this year meant a lot with the 4 vs. 5 playoff game. But the road wasn’t easy. The Royals would become the first team since the 2008 Bardo Athletics to go 2-1, 2-1 in the playoffs enroute to a PBL Championship.
Unlike past Royal teams, they split the playoff rotation up amongst three hurlers. Ian Sherbaniuk. Lyndon Galvin. And Doug “Big Game” Morris. The team going 1-1, 1-1 and 2-0 in those starts respectively, putting to rest this authors worries in June about the rotation he uttered to a veteran of the Rosalind Athletics.
But the big story to help that was the offence. An average of more than six runs per game in the playoffs and almost nine in the season. The bats of Zenan Sherbaniuk, Luke Ryan, Morris and a few others reigned supreme and carried the load. But as much as this was a “future is now” moment, there was Clark Banack, chipping in RBIs, hitting .350 during the season, and doing so with a hand-made bat from a lathe in off the coast of Irricana.
All that said, it was sweet justice for the team, only a handful remaining, for the franchise that could have used a seven-run lead in 2012. They only spotted a two-run lead that year before the always pesky Milleteers, who had yet to lose a final until this year (now 5-1), came back. They came back this year, but it was that offence that paved the way to victory.
With the Milleteer back. The Royals on top. And the A’s, Expos, Braves and Roadrunners resting, these new Royals can savor a home win. Their first since 2002 (and 2004) and be on the look out for next year.