Until the sixth inning Wednesday night, it looked as if the Rycroft Rage would give the Beaverlodge Royals one of their closer games of the Wheatbelt Baseball League season.
But a disastrous sixth inning that saw the Rage crumble and Royal players cross the plate 10 times turned what had been a tight match at Harry Morrow Ballpark into a 13-2 rout, and the Royals walked away with their 9-0 record intact.
"We were a little weak at the start. A couple errors and a couple of strikeouts, but we stuck with it and came through," said Beaverlodge pitcher Brent Might who went the distance in the win.
"Hit after hit, the (Rage) pitching tends to break down and it is tough when the players are making errors behind you. But it is something they (Rage) have to work through and we just took full advantage of it and just kept on hitting the ball and putting the ball into play and good things happened."
Indeed. Good things did happen in the sixth.
It started when Might belted an RBI single that brought home Dave Slobodian to make it 4-2.
Elliot Holthe scored from third on a passed ball to make it 5-2.
Jason Ginter's single drove home Andrew Nash and Might to make it 7-2, and the Royals scored five more times before the mercy rule kicked in and the game was called.
For most of the game it looked as if the Rage might be able to pick up their first win in three meetings with the Royals this season.
Might's bouncing single that got past the second baseman scored Holthe from second in the first inning, but the Rage came back in the third when Jason Shymr singled and Brandon Zahara tied the score.
The Royals regained the lead in the bottom of the third. Chase Garbitt scored on a wild pitch and Nash's double scored Holthe for a 3-1 lead.
The Rage pulled within one in the fifth when Dustin Selbach's RBI single scored Neil McGill.
Both teams made far too many early errors. The difference was that the Royals, that are a mixed Dawson Creek-Grande Prairie team, were able to rebound with the odd big play, including a double play in the top of the sixth, and the Rage fell apart in the sixth.
"The errors weren't helping us too much there and then all of a sudden the last inning came around and we started hitting off them," said Holthe, who crossed the plate three times last night.
Byron Murphy took the loss for the Rage. He was replaced in the sixth by Morgan Zahara when the score was 9-2.
In other WBL games last night, the Fort St. John Paladin Black Sox beat the Norwest Thunder 11-2 and Grimshaw hammered Peace River 11-2.
The first-place Royals will host the second-place Peace River Stampeders Sunday afternoon at Harry Morrow Ballpark.