Bryce Johnson retired the first 12 batters of the game in order and Kyle Petak drove in three runs to lead the MVP Royals National over the Bradley Eagles,7-2, in PSL action last night at Westfield High School.
Johnson allowed just one man to reach via a walk, then erased him on a pickoff. The left-hander set up his off-speed pitch with precision control, striking out five of the 12 batters he faced. He also gave some credit to his catcher after the game.
“My fastball was working pretty well, just whipping it in there and my changeup was really coming along,” Johnson said. “[Petak] was framing really well tonight and helped me with a bunch of strikes at the end of my outing.”
Johnson’s battery mate also delivered offensively for the Royals, going 2-for-2 with three RBI. Petak drove in a pair of runs in the first inning to give the Royals a 2-0 lead then scored another run on a double in the fourth.
“Kyle is just a gamer. When there is something that needs to get done, he is going to get it done,” Royals coach Bill Wilkinson said. “He got fooled on a two-strike pitch but just kept enough weight back to drive it and get two runs in. He just has great swings and great at-bats and is a treat to have around.”
The Royals would another run in the fourth after Chris Dudley walked with the bases loaded and two more in the fifth on RBI from Xavier Herring and Dylan Wilkinson. Zach Perkins tallied the Royals seventh and final run in the sixth after stealing home on an attempted pickoff at first base.
A duo of lefties came on in relief of Johnson as Perkins allowed a run on one hit in the fifth and Dudley was charged a run after walking three batters in a third of an inning. Dudley faced just four batters before he had to be removed from the game after suffering a hip injury.
Ian Rees started on the mound for the Eagles and allowed two runs on three hits in three innings. Will Sapp and Charles Sandbloom each threw an inning in relief and Brett Bulkeley struck out four in the final two innings for the Eagles.
The Eagles did not get in the hit column until two outs in the fifth, when Liam Airey drove in Lucas Bires. Ian Rees scored again for the Eagles in the sixth after Michael Janis walked with the bases loaded. The offense struggled to produce, collecting just one hit and leaving only four men on-base.
After the injury to Dudley, Wilkinson moved from shortstop to try and get out of the bases loaded jam. Wilkinson was able to limit the damage to one run thanks to a diving catch by second baseman Riley Cox on a line drive that was heading for center field. He then doubled up the runner at second to end the inning.
Wilkinson used another double play in the seventh to close out the game, resulting in four of the final five outs being recorded on two plays. The right-hander also had a good night at the plate, going 1-for-2 with an RBI, two runs and a pair of walks.
Both teams will be in action again this Saturday as they each will take on the Hillcats Prime 17u in a split doubleheader at Westfield High School.
Left to Right: Bryce Johnson did not allow a hit in four scoreless innings and Kyle Petak drove in three runs to lead the Royals. Photos by Josh Belanger.