Offensive surge leads Royals past Covington, 10-4
WINCHESTER – After stringing together just three hits a night ago, the Royals exploded for 11 hits and 10 runs en route to defeating the top team in the Valley Baseball League, Covington Lumberjacks, 10-4 at Bridgeforth Field on Monday night.
“The strike zone was a little bit better for them to hit in tonight, but every day is a new day. They went out with the same mindset. They went out and executed team at-bats and individual at-bats,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said.
Going into their half of the fourth with a 3-1 deficit, Winchester put up six runs across the next two innings to build a 7-3 advantage. With two outs in the fourth, Joe Sadallah scorched full-count fastball u[ the middle to score Jordan Huntley and Chad Feely to tie the game. Four pitches later, Chris Salvey hit a double that kicked off the center field fence, scoring Sadallah from first.
Masen Prososky and Samyr Santos each reached with one out in the fifth. Jordan Huntley lofted a single down the left field line to score Prososky and give the Royals a 5-3 lead. Santos and Huntley both scored off a two-out error from JC Santos to double Winchester’s lead.
The Royals added three more insurance runs in the eighth. After Sadallah led off with a double, he scored from second base on a wild pitch. Later in the inning the newest Royal, Johnny Butler, sneaked a single over the head of JC Santos to bring in a pair and open up a 10-4 lead.
Evan Richardson got the ball and labored through four innings. Although working around a bases loaded, no out jam as part of a 31-pitch first inning he allowed three runs on four hits. He walked six batters while striking out four.
“(Richardson) always has that one bad inning and he got it out early tonight. He honestly didn’t have his best stuff tonight. What he does no matter what, is he competes,” Mays said.
After permitting a run to score in the third via sac fly, Richardson allowed two more with an RBI groundout followed by an RBI single. With his pitch count approaching the century mark, Mays decided to bring in southpaw Hank Biggs to start the fifth.
“Any time you are willing to go out and compete and not back down from hitters, whether you have your stuff or not, you’re going to give us a chance to win…His pitch count got to 97 and he still wanted the ball, but my job is to send him back to school healthy,” Mays said.
Biggs, who struggled his past couple outings, was spectacular out of the bullpen. He threw four innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. He struck out the side in the sixth, as part of a stretch of seven consecutive hitters sat down. Biggs' lone mistake came in the eighth, where a one-out single came around to score from a two-out double.
“Biggs had good stuff tonight. He was able to throw the changeup for strikes. He was able to throw the curveball for strikes. He mixed the fastball in, fastball out. He went out there and dominated hitters all night,” Mays said.
Emilio Valdes recorded the final three outs in the ninth to bring the Royals (10-11) to one within .500 and four games from first place in the North.
The Royals host the Front Royal Cardinals (13-6), who stand atop the North, on Tuesday. Dylan Gentry gets the ball in his first official start. He owns a 3.60 ERA in four relief appearances this season.
Winchester has had two exciting games with the Cardinals this season. Chris Salvey hit a decisive three-run home run to win on June 8, whereas Aaron Palensky won it with an RBI single in extra innings on June 27. First pitch will be at 7 p.m.