Royals take care of business in Section 1B playoff opener
Matt Meyer allowed just one hit over six innings and the Rochester Royals had their offense rolling in a 14-0 win over the Elko Express in the first game of a best-of-3 series in the Section 1B amateur baseball playoffs.
ROCHESTER — The Rochester Royals were all business as they began the Section 1B amateur baseball playoffs on Friday.
The Royals, the No. 2 seed in Section 1B, dispatched the fifth-seeded Elko Express 14-0 in seven innings in the first game in the best-of-3 series. Rochester (25-8) can now capture the series and clinch a state berth with a win in Elko on Sunday.
“It feels good to get the first win in a best-of-3 series so it puts the pressure on them for Sunday,” Royals first baseman Drew Block said. “Hopefully we can go up there, take care of business and punch our ticket to state.”
The Royals were clicking in all phases of the game on Friday at Hudson Field. They not only put up 14 runs, but Matt Meyer allowed just one hit in six innings to earn the win and the Royals were flawless in the field.
“Obviously the goal is not just to make it to state, but to make a run at state so this is a good first step,” Meyer said.
Meyer (6-2) allowed a single to the third hitter he faced. That was the only hit he allowed in six innings as he retired 17 of the 19 hitters he faced. He struck out eight and walked one, and that runner was erased on a double play.
“Just being able to attack the zone with three pitches is helpful,” Meyer said. “Just putting them in a defensive count is always the goal in every at-bat.”
The left-handed Meyer, a former minor-league pitcher, is used to facing teams in Section 1B and he says it helps knowing how to pitch the hitters.
“I love Class B ball, but there’s not a lot of team differential,” Meyer said. “You play the same group of six teams every year (in section play) and you get very familiar with the group. … They know your tendencies as a pitcher and you know their tendencies as a hitter. You want to exploit their weaknesses.”
The Express had just three runners in seven innings and the Royals twice turned a 5-4-3 double play, including one behind pitcher Drew Lingen to end the game in the seventh inning.
“Matt was great today,” Block said. “He was real sharp and we played good defense behind him. That’s kind of the recipe for success this time of year.”
Offensively, the Royals had production up and down the lineup as they collected 14 hits. No. 8 hitter Dan Lyons was 2-for-2 with two walks and he had an RBI and scored four runs. In the No. 9 hole, Jake Halverson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored and Nolan Jurgenson came in and was 1-for-1 with an RBI and a walk.
“Even with two outs I think our guys do a good job of grinding out at-bats and starting rallies,” Block said. “It’s good to see that one through nine, anyone can start a rally for us.”
No. 2 hitter Tate Meiners had three RBIs while hitters No. 3 and 4, Logan Mielene and Bo McClintock, both had two hits. Mielene had a double and two RBI and McClintock drove in a run.
“Our lineup has been hitting the ball well,” Meyer said.
Block was 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs and Alex Holets was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“There’s not too many 14-0 games in our section so we feel pretty good with where we’re at,” Block said.
Left-hander Matteo Finocchi (7-0, 2.14 ERA) is expected to pitch in the second game for the Royals at 2 p.m. Sunday in Elko.
“But we’ll kind of have all hands on deck because we prefer to win in two (games),” Block said.
A third game, if needed will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mayo Field.