It wasn’t the start they were hoping for, but the Logan Royals were undaunted.
After all, a three-run deficit is seemingly small for a baseball team that has grown accustomed to scoring runs in bunches.
That’s exactly what Logan did in its latest Northern Utah League tilt. The Royals came storming back from a 3-0 hole by scoring in every inning on their way to a 17-7 victory over the Providence Wolverines on Tuesday night at Worthington Park.
Tyler Hinkle invoked the mercy rule with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth, marking the third time the Royals have prevailed by double digits in the last seven days. Additionally, Logan has put up 10 or more runs 11 times this summer.
“It only takes one player to light up the torch and pass it on to the next hitter, and that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing this summer is just pass the torch and have good at-bats, quality at-bats and drive in some runs,” Logan slugger Josh Simon said.
Simon has been on a tear at the plate lately and that trend continued Tuesday. The hard-hitting left-hander went 3 for 3 with three runs and a pair of RBIs and walks. No. 13 launched a solo home run that cleared the fence in right by at least 100 feet, plus he belted a run-scoring single off the fence in dead center in his ensuing at-bat.
Simon is one of several Royals who are a long way from home. The native of the Caribbean island of Aruba spent this past spring playing at Missouri Valley College, a NAIA program in Marshall, Missouri. Simon smacked 10 extra-base hits, including five homers, and drove in 34 runs in 42 games for the Vikings, plus struck out 39 batters in 29 innings on the mound.
“I feel like this league has been pretty fun,” Simon said. “It’s been interesting. It’s always beautiful out here in Logan. I love it. I love the traveling part of baseball too, but yeah I’ve had a fun time. I’ve made some good friends out here, friendships that will last a lifetime, so it’s been a good time.”
Simon also made his presence felt on the bump Tuesday as he scattered six hits and fanned 10 in six complete. No. 13 did walk seven and plunk one.
The Wolverines also struggled to throw strikes at times as they walked 12 Royals and plunked another.
Although the final score ended up being lopsided, this was a very competitive game through four-plus frames. Providence seized a 6-5 lead in the top of the fourth on a two-run bomb over the fence in right by Braxton Jensen.
Logan edged back in front in the home half of the fourth courtesy of solo homers by Simon and Blake Perry, who deposited a pitch over the fence in left.
The Wolverines pulled even in the top of the fifth when Traceson Jensen laced a double off the fence in left-center, and then scored on Cody Lee’s double down the left-field line.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, their momentum was short-lived as the Royals put a five-spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth and plated five more runs in the sixth to slam the door. The hosts strung together six hits in the fifth frame.
“Lately we’ve been starting off hot, but today was a little bit of a slow start, but usually we have a lot of fight in us,” Simon said. “Any game that we start off slow, we usually just pick it up and we get some energy in the dugout, and we get some runs.”
In addition to Simon, Ray Garcia and Hinkle led the charge offensively for the Royals. Garcia finished with three runs, two hits, three RBIs and two walks, while Hinkle drove in four runs — the first two on a well-struck double in the fifth inning. Perry contributed with three RBIs and a pair of runs, hits and walks for Logan, which got three RBIs from Koby Maitland and three runs apiece from Brayden Anderson and Derek Anthony. Anderson also walked twice and singled.
Jensen also doubled for the Wolverines on his way to a pair of hits, runs and RBIs. Jaxon Hill whacked a two-run double off the fence in right in the top of the first for the visitors.
Tuesday’s showdown featured some great defensive plays, including tricky catches in the outfield by Providence’s Bryson Siddoway and Jensen. Wolverines catcher Dillon Haslam gunned out a would-be base stealer, and Logan’s Anthony sparkled defensively at second base.
“Well, Derek is known for making the hardest plays look easy, so usually whenever it’s a hard-hit ball, a ball out of reach, he lays out and sacrifices his own body to make those plays,” Simon said. “And as a pitcher — and I’m pretty sure everybody that’s on the team that’s a pitcher — appreciates the effort he puts on the field. And we (as pitchers) appreciate whenever our fielding is locked down because whenever there is locked down fielding and no errors, the other team can’t get momentum and they can’t score runs.”