Pictou County wins Intermediate A provincials

PETIT DE GRAT: Neither the defending Intermediate A provincial champion Inverness Athletics nor the host Red Hawks (a combination of the Petit de Grat Red Caps and Little Anse Hawks) were able to make it to the championship game of the Intermediate A provincials last Sunday.

Both local teams made it to semi-finals, with Inverness facing the Sydney Mines Marlins in an 11-4 loss and the Red Hawks battling the Pictou County Albions in a 13-0 loss.

The championship saw Pictou drop Sydney Mines 11-2.

While neither squad took home medals, it’s fair to say this year’s provincials was one of the most unique in recent years, as a storm front moved through the area last Friday and Saturday making the weather highly memorable.

“That was the first time in my career I saw hail stones while playing ball,” said Richard Boudreau, player/coach with the Red Hawks.

Indeed, the Red Hawks opened the tournament last Friday afternoon while hosting Sydney Mines, and that outing had to be postponed due to intense hail and rain, not to mention thunder and gusts of wind.

“It was blowing a gale on Saturday too, and you’d still get some rain,” he said.

The Red Hawks were unable to handle Sydney Mines in that first outing, as the final was 11-0 for the visitors. The Red Hawks bounced back to win 4-1 against Weymouth in their second game. In a qualifier for the semi-finals, the Hawks and Weymouth played once again with the hosts winning 7-1.

Overall, Boudreau’s team went 2-2 over the weekend.

“We did okay, but we couldn’t really compete with Pictou who play in a AAA provincial league,” Boudreau said. “We had Pictou on Sunday [in the semi-finals], and they were pounding the ball. It didn’t make much difference who threw.

“We finished 2-2, and that was respectable. We finished middle of the pack. We were fourth out of seven teams, and when you see a team like Pictou who played AAA all year, you can see the difference.”

Inverness, who went 3-1, started the weekend with a big 17-1 win over Kennetcook. The players stayed a bit dryer than was the case in Petit de Grat, as their game was played in Louisdale.

On Saturday, the Athletics dropped Tri-County 15-8 in their second round robin game.

From there, Inverness faces Kennetcook once again to qualify for the semi-finals. The local guys pulled that one out in an 11-10 final.

“We played well, but we allowed eight runs in our second game and that came back to bite us a little bit,” said Mark Copley, player/coach for Inverness. “Those two other teams, Sydney Mines and Pictou County, were strong – they seemed to be in a class of their own.”

The Saturday night game against Kennetcook was a big one for Inverness, as the A’s were down 6-0 after the first inning and then 8-2 later in the game. Nonetheless, the guys rallied to get the drop on the visitors.

“We don’t have anything to hang our heads about,” Copley said. “When you win last year, you have your hopes set on that again, but we lost to a good team.”

Copley said he and Inverness would like to thank Bruce Joshua and Don Boudrot, along with everyone else working to organize the tournament, for having things run so smoothly.

“If they could host provincials every year, I’d be happy,” Copley said.