BUCKLEY — For the second year in a row, it will be the Royal Giants versus the Buckley Dutchmasters for the championship of the Eastern Illinois Baseball League postseason tournament.
Royal, which breezed through the abbreviated season this year with a 6-0 record, lost to Buckley last year. The Giants swept the Dutchmasters in a regular season twin bill this year.
It will also mark the fifth time in the last nine seasons the two teams will square off for the tournament title.
Royal blanked El Paso in Sunday’s first semifinal game 10-0 as Giants pitchers no-hit the opposition.
A pair of Rantoul Township High School products pitched for Royal.
Nolan Roseman pitched the first five frames for the Giants. Adam Crites pitched the final inning in a game shortened due to the 10-run rule. Royal’s No. 1 pitcher, Jesse Remington, wasn’t available due to a previously scheduled vacation.
Blake Hoveln gave Royal all the runs it would need when he blasted a two-run homer in the first inning.
That’s where it stayed until the fourth inning when Royal broke it open with seven runs, highlighted by Cole Jones’ three-run round-tripper.
Asher Bradd had two hits, including a double, for the Giants.
Buckley advanced with a 15-5 win over the Paxton Swedes. The Dutchmasters will play in their fifth postseason tourney title game in the last six years.
Paxton’s No. 1 pitcher, Adam Carver, was unavailable due to a previously scheduled family vacation.
The best-of-three tournament will be played over two days this weekend. Game one starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, with game two at 1 p.m. Sunday. If a third game is necessary, it will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first Sunday contest.