Conference play spoils baseball’s playoff chances

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCRANTON ATHLETICS

First-year pitcher Kyle Bravin pitched 19 strikeouts in 38 innings this season for the Royals. The University hosts Juniata College for a three-game series this weekend.

MITCHELL DEMYTRK

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

It has been a tale of two stories for the 2017 edition of Royals baseball. One story will tell you how great the team has done out of conference, which includes a 14-7 record.

In non-conference games, they have outscored opponents by a combined total of 43.

The other side of the story is the struggling Landmark Conference record of 3-12. In those games, they’ve been outscored by 41.

Unfortunately, to advance to the conference tournament, you need a winning conference record. With one conference series left this weekend, the Royals’ baseball team will be looking at next year soon.

So what seems to be the issue for a team that can hit the ball well and has multiple shutouts on the year?

“A lack of togetherness. Whenever the pitching is throwing well and the fielding is there the hitting isn’t there or vice versa,” first-year pitcher Kyle Bravin said.

Bravin is correct, according to the numbers, and we all know numbers do not lie. This year’s team has lost games when only giving up one or two runs, and has also lost games while scoring 10 runs.

As for Bravin himself, the young pitcher looks to keep improving throughout his years at The University.

“(This year was) a great learning experience,” Bravin said. “I did well at times and not so well at other times. Overall, I’ve learned a lot over the span of this season.”

Bravin started six games and appeared in nine on the mound for the Royals and boasted a 1-3 record to go along with a 4.03 ERA (earned run average). Additionally, he struck out 19 batters in 38 innings pitched, and also recorded a save.

There is a lot of young talent on the Royals’ roster, as only six seniors graduate from this year’s squad. Next year should consist of a reloaded and motivated baseball club.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to winning next year and competing with my teammates,” Bravin said.

The team hosted its final three regular season and conference games against Juniata College this weekend.

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