If the Armena Royals could find a way to bunch all their hits together in one or two innings, they’d take that and a bag of potato chips.
Managing just under five runs a game in regular season play, excluding the anomaly in Tofield where they notched 26, the Royals have now outhit their opponents in two straight losses.
The biggest culprit of late has been the team’s inability to cash in runs when in scoring position. They left a combined 12 runners on second and third and another six on first in the two games that have put the team on the brink of missing the postseason for the second straight year.
Add in three pivotal base-running blunders in the two games, and the Royals have no one to blame…but themselves.
“Life would have been a lot easier if we went 2-0 this week,” said player-coach Clark Banack, who has been hinting at retirement of late. “…we really should have (won both of them).”
As hard as it may be to believe, the Royals still control their own destiny, albeit a destiny that has a pretty tall hill to climb.
They begin their improbable quest against the front-running Leduc Milleteers and Camrose Roadrunners next Tuesday and Thursday back at Anniversary Park. It will have been more than three weeks since the Royals stepped foot on their home turf.
“We had a couple tough losses on that road trip, but we have to keep our chins up,” said utility man Jason Buzzell. “We finish off with an above-.500 home record and we got a shot at this thing.”
The final week of the season sees the Royals host Bardo and Tofield before ending the year with a rescheduled game in Leduc on Friday, July 10.
Bardo sits just a game ahead of the Royals, but holds the second tie-breaker, winning the season series. They only have three games remaining though, including the July 7 battle in Armena.