Note: Contributing to this article with two interviews was Richmond Academy student, Jacob Pâté.
LOUISDALE: The Richmond Hurricane will host the Nova Scotia Student Athletic Federation Division III Softball Provincials this Friday and Saturday, and coach Robert MacDonald feels this could be a very good weekend for his local boys.
“We’ve been to the last two finals, and we’re looking to get that banner that’s slipped through our fingers the last couple of years,” MacDonald said.
“This year, I think we have the team to do it. We didn’t lose many from last year, and we picked up some high quality rookies. Hopefully, that’s enough to get over that hump to take the banner home.
“We played very well through regionals, and I think we have a little room to turn it up another notch.”
Action will take place at two fields, the Louisdale Ball Field located close to Richmond Academy and the Edwin Bona Community Ball Field in River Bourgeois.
Barbecues will be supplying food at both fields, and eight teams will be attending. At press time, not all teams were known. However, action is expected to start at 10 a.m. Friday and run all day. Action continues on Saturday, with the championship taking place at 2:30 p.m.
At the Edwin Bona Community Ball Field, members of the River Bourgeois Splash Pad Initiative will be taking care of the cooking, and money raised from the BBQ will go toward having a splash pad installed at the Tara Lynne Community Centre.
In Louisdale, the Lions Club will be doing the cooking and making its facilities available to the players.
“We have great community groups taking on a portion of it at both fields,” MacDonald said. “There’s a community driven part to it this time, and I hope that will bring people out too.”
The Hurricane is going into the tournament as the Highland Region champion, following a big 8-4 win over the SAERC Saints last Monday afternoon. Going into the provincials as a higher seed is no small thing, the coach said, adding that just winning the regional banner is a big accomplishment. Nine teams were vying for the championship.
Nolan Briand, a grade 12 student who’ll be exercising his arm on pitcher’s mound this weekend, expects a good weekend of ball.
“Having come second in the province for the previous two years, we’ve really been pouring it on to take the championship this year. We’ll be seeing new teams we haven’t played yet, meaning we’ll have to adapt to their style of play and hopefully come out on top.
“Home crowd always makes a difference, it definitely puts more pressure on us but it will just be that much better when we’re handed the banner.”
Grade 12 student Zack Bond thinks the Hurricane has what it takes to turn heads on the weekend.
“Our biggest strength definitely lies in our hitting,” he said. “We have a complete lineup. Every individual hitter has a strength: some are good at getting on base, and some are good at driving those guys in. You need variety in a lineup to be able to do some damage and keep up with the high-scoring nature of softball, and we definitely have that.
“Regardless of the final result, I think provincials will be an awesome experience for everyone involved; however, we’re definitely playing to win. We’ve been provincial runner-ups the past two years, so we know what to expect and how to compete. I think we’re ready for another run at the title of provincial champion.
“Playing for a home crowd is a great time. I love to see people come out and support the team. There’s no place I’d rather make a run at the championship at than here at home.”