Former two-sport star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is quoted as saying once in part, "If you feel good, you play good."
Lake Region State College's baseball team was feeling good on Friday, April 19, and they sure enough played like it taking the first two of a weekend four games against Dawson Community College at Legion Field.
"You see the energy back in the boys, the smiles," said Royals head coach Kyal Williams. "The enthusiasm is back in playing baseball and that's something we strive for here. Hopefully now we've found it."
It also helps when the pitching came out to play like Bad Boy in the 'Flava in Ya Ear' remix.
"Our starting pitching has been really good 95 percent of the year. They give us a chance to win," Williams said.
Blake Patterson started Game 1 for the Royals and went five innings, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out eight. He pitched himself out of jams, stranding three runners over the first three innings before allowing an RBI by Keenan O'Brien that scored Brett Norby that tied the game at 1-all. The Buccaneers also left two runners on in the fourth.
The Royals broke open the ballgame in the bottom half of the fifth. A leadoff single by Brody Stark and Kyler Halverson's walk put runners on first and second. James Sampson-Keck's successful sacrifice bunt loaded the bases for Tarick Morris who plated Stark and Halverson on a two-run double. With two outs, Remy Stern scored off a RBI double by Jakob Crank, Noah Widmer came across home on a wild pitch and Adrian Rodriguez RBI single scored Crank.
After five innings, the Royals led 7-1.
The Buccaneers added two runs in the sixth inning and despite four errors by Lake Region State College, the Royals won the game 7-3.
The Royals got out to a two run lead in the second game behind two Halverson runs. Sampson-Keck knocked in Halverson in the first inning and Halverson scored off of a wild pitch in the third inning after getting a single with one out. A Sampson-Keck single and a steal allowed Halverson to advance to third from where he scored.
The cushion was enough for Royals starting pitcher Liam Sommer, who allowed three hits in five innings of work and he struck six, three coming in the fourth inning with runners on first and second after walking leadoff hitter Norby and giving up a single to Wyatt Sorensen. The next three batters Sommer faced, O'Brien, Justin Stewart and Cobey Cupp, all struck out ending the Buccaneers inning.
Dawson (9-20, 6-8 MonDak) scored one run in the fifth inning to cut its deficit to 2-1 but the Royals plated three in the bottom of the fifth and held on for the Day 1 sweep.
"The last few times we had opportunities to help them but this game, we gave them (Patterson and Sommers) chances to get ahead, gave them run support and gave them confidence in knowing that they can come in and throw strikes and in the event of giving up a hit, the hit won't make a difference," Williams said.
After Friday's games, the Royals improved to 7-13 overall and 3-9 in the MonDak.
— — —
On Saturday, April 20, the Royals and Buccaneers split. Dawson won Game 1 7-3 and the Royals closed out the series with a 17-8 win.