UTICA — For years, the American Legion baseball team from Utica Post 92 was known as the Knox County Royals.
Now, the Royals represent Mount Vernon Post 136, and Utica Post 92 is known as — Utica Post 92.
In their first showdown since their split, the Royals survived a game filled with errors to come away with an 11-5 victory on Wednesday.
In total, the two teams combined for 11 errors, leading to 10 unearned runs. There were also three wild pitches and two hit batsmen.
“I don’t think, mentally, we were ready to go tonight,” said Royals head coach Mike King. “The only good thing I can say is that we came out with a win.”
With both teams giving each other opportunities, the game was decided by who could get the timely hit. Mount Vernon stepped up on that front, as Tyler Berger collected a pair of RBIs on hits in the first and third innings. Kory Shackle went 3-for-4 with two RBIs; he also reached on an error in the third that drove in a run. Nick Mazgay had three hits in the game, the last of which drove in an insurance run in the seventh.
Riley Swanson added a pair of hits and scored once, Mitch Sellers had two hits and Nick Hoar had an RBI double.
So, offense wasn’t an issue for the Royals.
“We had five errors,” said King. “If you want to play championship-calibur baseball, you can’t play like that.”
The Royals, who had to save their pitchers for the Mount Vernon tournament beginning today, used four pitchers in Wednesday’s game.
Berger started on the mound, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits in three innings of work. Josh Edwards came in and got the win, pitching two innings and getting two strikeouts with no earned runs. Jayben Martin and Brock Cutlip pitched an inning apiece.
The four pitchers combined for six hits allowed and two earned runs — and didn’t walk a single batter.
“We were on the plate,” King said of his pitchers. “We threw a lot of guys on the mound tonight. Josh Edwards came in and threw two very solid innings. I was real pleased with him tonight.”
For Utica, Cory Workman went 3-for-4 as the team’s leadoff hitter. Austin Skeese had a hit and drove in two RBIs.
Devin Carr started on the mound for Utica, allowing 11 hits and seven runs (four earned) over five innings of work. Colton Ponsor came in for the final two innings.
The Royals play on their home field today for the start of the Mount Vernon Tournament, a five-team round-robin and single elimination showdown that runs through Sunday. Today’s game will see the Royals take on Ashley, whom they beat, 4-0, on Tuesday.
“We’ll see if we’re ready for tournament play,” said King. “We’ll be in a tournament for the next four weekends. We’ll see what it’s like. Hopefully, we’ll play some good baseball there, because we didn’t here.”