In the early 1970s, government policy made it possible for teams to apply for and use monies to build or upgrade baseball fields. New facilities sprang up in Rocky Bay, Arichat and Louisdale.
The 1971 season of the RABA saw teams from Arichat, D’Escousse and Port Hawkesbury join the River Bourgeois Schooners, the Petit de Grat Red Caps, and the Louisdale Baracos to form a six-team loop.
The Petit de Grat Red Caps met the Louisdale Baracos for the official opening of the Louisdale Baracos’ Project ’71 baseball field. Wilfred Boudreau of the Red Caps hit the first home run on the new field. Gerry Bourque, Gus Boyd, and Tim Boudreau also displayed their long ball ability. When the dust settled, Louisdale prevailed 15-10.
The final standings for the ’71 season:
River Bourgeois 7-3
Petit de Grat 5-5
Port Hawkesbury 5-5
Although the Louisdale team was unbeatable during the season, they encountered a red-hot team from River Bourgeois led by team MVP Richie Mann and league Rookie of the Year David Digout and fell in three straight games.
The second annual RABA banquet was held at Louisdale with Mel Burt as master of ceremonies. Special guests were league president Adrian Bourque, honourary president John Bourinot, Don Morrison representing Oland Breweries, and Walter Fougere, warden of Richmond County.
Team and league awards were handed out by Mr. Bourque as follows:
Petit de Grat awards, sponsored by Tim’s Esso were: MVP Wilfred Boudreau; batting leader Claude Boudreau; most improved Adolph Kehoe; and rookie of the year: Everett Landry.
Louisdale awards, sponsored by Landry Brothers were: MVP Barry Marchand and Vernon Marchand; batting champ Vernon Marchand; best pitcher Barry Marchand; and rookie of the year Paul Forgeron.
D’Escousse awards, sponsored by the North Isle Madame Credit Union were: MVP James Bowen; most improved Vincent Bona; best pitcher Dave Linden; and honourable mentions Pierre Boudreau and Wayne Poirier.
River Bourgeois awards, sponsored by Olands, were: MVP Leo King, Richie Mann and Gilbert Boucher; best pitcher Leo King; and batting champ Richie Mann.
Arichat’s awards, sponsored by John LeBrun, were: MVP Adrian Boudreau; batting champ Don Boudrot; best pitcher Ed Binet; rookie of the year Terry Samson; and most improved Gerard Boudreau.
League awards went to Barry Marchand of Louisdale as MVP and David Digout of River Bourgeois as top rookie.