Week Review: Storylines Aplenty as Royals Finish Week 1-2

by Ryan Eakin

GUELPH - After a 4-0 start to the season, the Guelph Royals sit 5-2 after a dramatic third week of their 2024 campaign.

Let's get into it.

06/04/2024 Vs Barrie

The week began with a clash at home against the 2023 runners-up for the Jack and Lynne Dominco trophy. An anticipated game for the Royals, who debuted their newest signee, Evan Grills, it was the Baycats who won this one 5-3.

Grills, in his first game pitched since the 2022 season with the Ottawa Titans, was solid. The towering lefty pitched just four innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks, but he struck out four batters, and just one hit was more than a single. Unfortunately for Grills and the Royals, it was a no-doubt, two-run home run off the bat of Nolan Machiborda. 

Grills was relieved by Rhys Montgomery, who struck out five of the six batters he faced out of the bullpen. In total, the Royals struck out nine Barrie batters through the first six innings, but it was not enough to overcome Baycats import pitcher Cesar Rosado, who pitched six shutout innings, striking out nine batters of his own.

Grills was not the only Royal to make his season debut in this one, as infielder Brando Leroux was in the lineup for the first time after wrapping up a successful junior season at Florida Atlantic.

Lastly, it was another productive night at the plate for JD Williams, who hit his fourth home run of the season.

Williams had only hit three home runs in each of his first two IBL seasons.

06/07/2024 @ BRANTFORD

The Royals got back on track in Brantford on Friday night, winning 6-2 thanks to a late-inning comeback.

Starter Hector Yan was solid, allowing just two earned runs in five innings, but the Royals still saw themselves down 2-1 in the eighth inning.

But in the eighth, the Royals jumped out to a 3-2 lead before newcomer Arthur Kowara hit the rare three-run, bases-loaded single to blow the game open for Guelph.

Reliever Yuki Narita picked up the win in relief, pitching three shutout innings while striking out six Red Sox batters.

The night was not all positive for the roadside, though, as the Royals will be without star shortstop Conner Morro for the next couple of weeks after suffering a hamstring injury late in the game.

06/08/2024 Vs TORONTO

If you like drama, this game is for you.

In a game dominated by the two starting pitchers, the veteran Marek Deska for the Maple Leafs and the young Jacob Kush for Guelph, it is what happened later in the game that people will remember most.

Down 3-1 in the seventh, after two runs from the Maple Leafs in the top of the inning, Royals manager Dino Roumel got tossed by home plate umpire Taka Masuda for joking with a base umpire. Masuda thought Roumel was yelling at him, and despite Roumel clarifying that he was not, Masuda ejected him.

Roumel then stormed the field post-ejection, with his clipboard receiving the brunt of it (this time, at least, it was not a chair), before being held back by Royals outfielder Josh Garton.

Masuda then ejected Garton, the peacemaker of the incident, before leaving the play of field, forcing both teams to stand around waiting for him to return. Masuda stated that he left due to Roumel not leaving the dugout in a timely matter, but the Royals manager was simply passing along instructions to Ashton Patterson, who had to take over the managerial duties with bench coach Paul Ante absent from the game.

Masuda then ejected Brandon Deans two innings later after Deans was unhappy with a safe call at home plate.

By the end, the Maple Leafs won 6-1, three Royals were ejected, and Royals owner Shawn Fuller needs to invest in a new clipboard.

On a more positive note, Blake Buckle made his debut for the blue and white. A former Canadian National Junior Team player, Buckle will provide depth for Roumel's squad as the season progresses. 

Looking ahead

The Royals are off until Friday when they travel to Brantford to face the Red Sox.

From there, they have a home-and-home with the defending champs from Welland starting on Saturday at home.

You can buy tickets to the game using the link below!