The season couldn’t have started any more satisfying for the Watertown boys’ baseball squad, as the Royals blew past Tri-City United 6-3 on Thursday, April 10, due in large part to a pair of sensational performances on the mound.
Senior starting pitcher Michael Herd threw fire at TCU for five innings, giving up just one-earned run while striking out an astonishing 12 batters.
“He moved the ball around the zone and kept TCU on their heels,” said Watertown-Mayer head coach Justin Stohs.
Nate Zellman kicked off the offensive attack for the Royals, starting with a two-run shot to right center field, scoring lead-off man Jordan Berrios and giving the Royals a 2-0 first inning lead. Zellman and the Royals caught a case of deja vu in the fourth inning, when Zellman launched another blast to right center, this time a solo shot pushing the Royals lead to 3-0.
TCU would eventually pull even with the Royals at three in the sixth inning and threatened to take the lead. With the sacks packed and zero outs, Royals pitcher Andrew Nichols worked out of the jam, forcing two infield flies and sending the last batter out on strikes.
In the top half of the eighth, the Royals played small ball, took advantage of some TCU errors, advanced runners and moved men into scoring position. Junior Zach Iten singled later in the eighth inning, propelled the Royals to a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish. Iten finished the night going 3-4 with an RBI.
With both Herd and Nichols anchoring the load on the mound, paired with persistent pop at the plate and timely hitting, the Royals should continue to play well in the Minnesota River Conference.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Stohs said. “We came away with a great win and we did [a lot of things] well. We got some good bunts, timely hitting, good pitching, and good defense. There is lots to be optimistic about.”
Next week, the Royals will host Sibley East and NYA on Monday and Tuesday, before heading to NYA April 24 and hosting HLWW Friday.
Contact Christopher Officer at [email protected]