Fort Macleod Royals have their sights set high as the 2011 American Legion baseball season gets under way.
The Royals are 4-2 to start the regular season and they also took part in a tournament at Lethbridge.
From what he’s seen so far from the opposition and his own team, Royals rookie head coach Ben Paskal is optimistic.
“I think we’re going to do real well this year,” Paskal said. “I think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”
The Royals are deep in the bullpen this season with veterans Jake Hansen, Taylor Wolstenholme, Maverick Price, Stephen Schuweiler, Hayden Shackel and Luke Lavorato back in the line-up, and rookie Cole Bennett joining the team.
“I think that’s what is going to really set us apart from a lot of teams,” Paskal said. “Nobody has pitching like us.”
Hansen will also play outfield, Wolstenholme will play outfield and catcher, and Price will see duty as short and as catcher.
The Royals will also employ Shackel at first base and in the outfield, Lavorato will play infield and Schuweiler will be a catcher and infielder.
The core of veterans includes Tyler Ammann, a catcher and fielder.
Newcomers this season are Ryan Cook, who will see duty in the infield, second baseman and fielder Aidan Kidd, second baseman Josh Foster, fielder, second baseman and catcher Blair Gaudreau, infielder Tyler Jensen and Bennett, who in addition to pitching will play infield.
“We’re off to a really good start,” Paskal said. “If the guys work hard, we’ll win some ball games along the way.”
The Royals opened the season May 31 by sweeping a doubleheader against the Vauxhall Spurs.
The next night they lost both ends of a doubleheader against Lethbridge Miners, losing 13-9 and 16-10.
In their home opener on Saturday the Royals swept the Havre North Stars 8-0 and 10-2.
In the first game Hansen struck out 18 batters while allowing just two hits. He drove in two runs as he pounded out a triple and a single.
Price went 3-for-4 with two RBI and Wolstenholme went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
In the second game Wolstenholme struck out 12 batters to earn the win.
Hansen belted a 340-foot homer as he went 2-for-4 at the plate. Price went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
The Royals hosted Great Falls Stallions on Tuesday in a doubleheader. Results were too late for The Macleod Gazette’s press deadline.
Next home action is Monday, June 13 at 3 p.m. when they host the Tri-County Cardinals from Conrad, Mont. in a doubleheader.