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updated: 5/20/2013 8:12 PM

Larkin uses Jefferson wildness to advance

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By Brian Schaumburg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Patience at the plate is easy to have when the opposing pitcher isn't close to the strike zone.

Larkin took advantage of Rockford Jefferson starter Mitch Gorsuch's ineffectiveness Monday afternoon.

Gorsuch walked the first three batters -- two of whom scored -- and 5 of the 12 batters he faced as the Royals scored five times in the first two innings to beat the J-Hawks, 7-0, in the play-in game of the Class 4A DeKalb regional.

"It was nice to jump on the lead early on our home field," Royals coach Matt Esterino said. "We've got to find ways on. We know we're not going to sit back and hit four home runs a game. So we've got to manufacture (runs)."

Chris Guzeman, Tyler Kalusa and Dan Lenz each walked to open the bottom of the first inning. Niko Morado followed with an RBI fielder's choice. Brayhden Rohse then drove in Kalusa with a single to center. John Jowaski added a run-scoring single two batters later for a 3-0 lead.

John Garcia and Guzeman had back-to-back infield singles to start the second. Kalusa walked to load the bases. Lenz then drew another walk to bring in Garcia. That was it for Gorsuch, who was relieved by Andrew Wimberly. After a strikeout, Royse drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in Guzeman for a 5-0 lead.

"It gave us a lot more confidence," Royse said. "We know (Gorsuch) was going to come out with the fastball since he was struggling."

That was more than enough for Royse on the mound. The junior right-hander allowed 5 hits in the complete-game shutout. Royse (2-4) did not walk a batter and struck out 7. No Jefferson baserunner reached third base.

"I felt loose. I was ready to go," Royse said. "My fastball was hitting the spot, seemed like anywhere Niko wanted it, I could throw it there."

Guzeman added a run-scoring single in the fifth and Rob Bond drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

The victory sends the fourth-seeded Royals (11-19) to the regional semifinals where they will face top-seeded Huntley at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at DeKalb High School.

"We know they're good," Esterino said. "All you can ask for is a shot. It's up to us to take advantage of it."

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