Thursday’s preps: Royal Oak completes sweep of Ferndale

Nolan Bianchi
Special to The Detroit News
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Royal Oak’s pitching staff weren’t the only members of their team hoping to go ‘three up, three down’ this week.

Royal Oak completed a three-game series sweep over Ferndale on Thursday with an 18-1 victory in five innings.

Royal Oak (15-5, 9-1 OAA Gold) had 12 hits, drew 11 walks, and had five players, including Matt Isaacson, Bryce Dunscomb and Evan Murphy, drive in two runs. Pitchers Andrew Holloway and Brennan Harbert gave up just three hits combined.

“We were able to get hits when guys got on base,” Royal Oak coach Greg Porter said. “It was just one of those days where we had several baserunners each inning and were able to mix in some hits around the walks to get some guys home.”

The Royal Oak batters had jumped on Ferndale pitching all week, scoring 12 on Wednesday and five runs Monday, which Porter said may have led to the opposition’s rough outing.

“I think their pitching options were probably pretty limited by the end of the series,” he said. “But our job is to try and take advantage of things like that and I really think we did that today.”

Still, with the dominant sweep behind it, Porter doesn’t want his team to celebrate too much — at least not yet. It has a two-game series with Southfield A&T next week that’ll likely decide the OAA Gold championship.

A&T handed Royal Oak its only league loss on the season, and has managed to keep a pristine record in the OAA Gold thus far.

“We’ve got a tall order,” Porter said of the upcoming series. “[Southfield is] a good club, and we’ve got to beat them twice at their place this week if we’re going to win the league.”

Even with a plethora of runs scored Thursday, Porter still thinks his squad has room for improvement at the plate.

“I think with the upcoming Southfield series, we need to really grind out some at-bats, and recognize and perform in situational hitting,” he said. “That’s something I didn’t think we did a very good job of this week, but we’ve definitely got to do that next week.”

Solid starts from right-hander Rob DaBasatos and lefty Jacob Isaacson, who picked up wins on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, will also be key.

“They’re our two senior pitchers, we’ve got them lined up ready to go, and we’ve got to limit the freebees,” Porter said.

All things considered, however, the most important task for Royal Oak will be to simply play well-rounded baseball.

“They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They’re a solid defensive club, their pitchers throw strikes, and they do a really good job of grinding out at-bats. We need to do that as well to have a shot,” Porter said. “They’re a good ballclub and they don’t beat themselves, so we’re going to have to go out there and earn it.”

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