Former Parksville Royals pitcher Josh Laukkanen fared well in his first start for the NCAA Div. 1 New Mexico Aggies. (PQB News file photo)

Former Parksville Royals pitcher Josh Laukkanen fared well in his first start for the NCAA Div. 1 New Mexico Aggies. (PQB News file photo)

Former Parksville Royals ace Laukkanen shines in first start for NCCA Div. 1 side in New Mexico

Nanaimo product graduated from the B.C. Premier Baseball League in 2018

Former Parksville Royals pitcher Josh Laukkanen turned in a solid effort in his first start of the 2021 NCAA Div. I college baseball season in College Station, Texas on March 6.

The Nanaimo product, who graduated from the Royals in 2018, pitched for the New Mexico State Aggies against conference rivals Texas A&M.

The right-hander did his job to make sure Texas A&M’s bats were, for the most part, held in check. Laukkanen struck out six, gave up six hits and a pair of walks in 4 1/3 innings of action before giving way getting relieved with one down in the bottom of the fifth. The Aggies lost 5-0.

“Josh is a really talented player and comes to compete with an outstanding work ethic and baseball IQ.” said Royals head coach Frank Kaluzniak. “Great to see him put in such a gritty performance against a very tough offence.”

Laukkanen was recruited by New Mexico after two successful seasons at Cloud County Junior College in Kansas.

In his freshman year at Cloud County in 2019, Laukkanen played 12 games with 11 starts. He posted a 4-3 record the included 55 strikeouts in 56.2 innings. In his debut game against Eastern Oklahoma State College he racked up 13 strikeouts in six innings of work.

In his second year at Cloud County, Laukkanen started in five games during the pandemic-shortened season, striking out 33 in 24 innings of action on the mound. He struck out a season-high nine against Marshalltown CC.

Laukkanen will make his next start for the Aggies against El Paso’s Dixie State on March 13.

Meanwhile, the Royals are set to stage their 2021 Spring Training Camp at the Parksville Community Park on March 15 to March 19.

The week-long camp is camp is for mosquito and peewee-aged players that want to take their game to the next level, and have fun doing it. The camp will focus on all areas of the game including hitting, pitching, fielding, and base running.

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The coaches at the camp will include Frank Kaluzniak, Bruce Biro and Connor Russell along with other Royals coaching staff.

Organizers indicated the camp is a great opportunity for all players to improve their baseball skills in a fun environment.

The Royals will strictly enforce compliance with COVID-19 Return to Play Guidelines. That will include social distancing during skills and practice sessions.

All parents will be contacted after registration to complete the Baseball BC Declaration and Waiver form. Players without a completed declaration and waiver will be unable to participate.

Under these guidelines, no spectators are allowed at the event.

To register for the camp, go online at http://parksvilleroyals.pointstreaksites.com/

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