Paxton Swedes swept in doubleheader by Royal Giants

GIFFORD -- The Paxton Swedes lost two games to the Royal Giants in an Eastern Illinois Baseball League doubleheader on Sunday.
Leading 3-2 in game one, Royal scored an insurance run in the sixth inning and three runs in the seventh inning en route to a 7-2 win. 
Colin Sullivan allowed seven runs on nine hits through seven innings for the Swedes before being relieved by Charlie Due.
“In the first game, we competed," Paxton player/manager Mark Prina said. “We were a little thin on pitching today. If we would have gotten the lead, we would have taken a shot at winning that game, but (as it was), we didn't want to blow it and wanted to come back and salvage (our pitchers) in game two, and it just didn't work out.”
Adam Carver and Isaiah Robles combined to pitch a three-hitter for Royal.
Carver allowed two earned runs on three hits and eight walks with 19 strikeouts through eight innings while Robles allowed no runs on no hits and no walks with one strikeout through one inning.
“I usually don't like to badmouth the umpires, but when the umpires are giving Carver six-plus inches on the outside corner – he's already good enough, he doesn't need that help. That just makes it really tough (for us). I think we probably let that affect us a little bit," Prina said. 
"We got a little frustrated. With a different umpire back there, maybe it's a totally different game. It just changes the complexion (of the game) because against him, part of how you have a chance to beat him is to wait him out. He gets into trouble by walking people, but when you have to start swinging, it's unhittable with him. We just couldn't overcome that today.”
The Swedes scored their two lone runs in the fourth inning.
Tristan Wolfe drew a leadoff walk before Mark Miller -- who finished the game hitting 2-for-3 -- singled and Jacob Bender and Prina each drew a walk. Wolfe and Miller each crossed home plate.
In game two, the Giants scored all eight runs in the first inning en route to an 8-2 win.
“We just couldn't recover from that. There were some fluke plays that happened in there and a couple of bloopers falling. Anything that could go wrong went wrong. It would have been nice to keep (the deficit) at three or four, and that gives you a chance," Prina said. 
"When it gets to eight, it kind of demoralizes you a little bit. It's tough to come back from a seven-inning game because you know you don't have as many outs to work with.”
In the top of the seventh inning, the Swedes scored two runs.
Cooper Johnson hit a one-out double and Prina drew a walk before Johnson crossed home plate on a balk with two outs. Hunter Phelps then hit a fly ball that was dropped in center field, sending Prina across home plate.
“We played until the end and scored two at the end," Prina said. "We didn't give up. We played good ball.”
After Jake Walters allowed eight runs in the first inning on the mound, Marshall Thompson pitched a shutout through more than five innings.
“Marshall came in and did a really nice job. In hindsight, maybe I should have started him, but our goal was to use him in relief and try to get three or four (innings) out of the first guy," Prina said. "It just didn't work out for us.”
With the losses, the Swedes fell to a record of 6-10, losing its share of third place in the EI League standings thanks in part to the Buckley Dutchmasters' two wins over Game Seven that same Sunday.
“I told our guys to keep their heads up. We're going to keep competing until the end. We've proven that we can play with anybody in the league. We've let a few games get away from us that could have put us in a better spot in the standings, but we've got five games left (in the regular season)," Prina said.
"Our goal is to win three or four, and hopefully get a good matchup in the first round of the tournament. You never know what can happen if we get the right matchups and things go our way. We can compete with anybody. We can still make a run. The season's not lost. We've just got to keep plugging away and keep competing, keep our heads up and not get frustrated and not worry about our record.”
Paxton will face Gifford-Flatville, which entered Sunday's EI League action in first place, at home next Sunday. The Giflats swept the Swedes on June 17, but not without two extra-inning games.
“It doesn't get any easier next week," Prina said. "We very easily could have won two against them, so we'll compete against them.”
The Swedes will then travel to Buckley to face the Dutchmasters on Sunday, July 22.
“Hopefully, those games mean something in the standings," Prina said. "That'd be fun. We're both in the same boat this year. It's a good matchup. It could be fun for the fans to have those games mean a little bit in the standings. We hope to have a good day there.”
Game 1
Royal Giants 7, Paxton Swedes 2
PAX 000   200   000   -- 2   3   4
ROY 201   001   30x   -- 7   9   1
W -- Adam Carver, 8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 19 K, 8 BB. L -- Colin Sullivan, 7 IP, 9 H, 7 R, K.
Paxton -- Mark Miller 2-3, 2B, R. Hunter Phelps 1-2, 2 BB. Tristan Wolfe R.
Royal -- Cody Flowers 2 R. Carver 1-3, R. Roberto Gonzalez 3-5, 2B, 2 RBIs, R. Thomas Wolken 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, R. Jake Cribbett 2-3, RBI, R. Jordan Glad 2-4, R. Hayden Morris 1-3.
Game 2 
Royal Giants 8, Paxton Swedes 2
PAX 000   000   2   -- 2   3   1
ROY 800   000   x   -- 8  11  2
W -- Colton Carr, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 6 K, 3 BB. L -- Jake Walters.
Paxton (6-10) -- Prina R, BB. Hunter Phelps 1-2, 2B, RBI. Cooper Johnson 2-3, R.
Royal (11-5) -- Cody Flowers 2B, RBI, R. Adam Carver 1-3, RBI, R. Blake Hoveln R. Roberto Gonzalez 3-4, HR, 2 RBIs, R. Thomas Wolken 2-4, R. Jake Cribbett 1-3, R. Jordan Glad 1-2, 2 RBIs, R. Hayden Morris R. Casey Dillman 1-3, RBI, R. 


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