PORT HAWKESBURY: Trailing by four runs in the championship game of the U18 AA provincials, the Strait Area Sting dug deep and rallied back to capture their second consecutive provincial championship on August 20.
“We were ‘A’ last year, but we were ‘AA’ this year. Maybe they’ll move us to ‘AAA’ next year,” said coach Hughie MacDougall, laughing. “We’ve been undefeated at provincials these last two years.”
The Pictou County Orioles provided competition in the championship game. Despite losing to the Sting in round robin, the Orioles proved tough in the final game.
Because of their 3-0 record, the Sting not only earned a place in the championship game but the guys would have to be beaten twice in order to lose the banner. When a team goes undefeated at a Baseball Nova Scotia four-team provincial tourney, the rules dictate that the other team in has to score two wins to take the top prize.
It made for an interesting Sunday, back on August 20.
“Had we lost that first game, we’d have had to go back to Dartmouth on Monday,” Coach MacDougall said. “We were trailing 5-1, so it looked like we might have to make the trip, but the boys pulled it out and came back.
“We came back and ended up scoring three in the bottom of the fifth, three in the bottom of the sixth, and we held them in the seventh. We ended up winning 7-5. They were a little nervous when they were down 5-1, but they showed a lot of heart when they came back.”
Zack Bond was the starting pitcher with Brendan MacDonald coming in for the save. Brendan MacDonald also had a double. Joel Fougere homered, and Callum Boudreau had a pair of singles.
“The boys were down for a few minutes thinking they had to drive all the way back for another game, but they came back,” the coach said. “They played with a lot of heart, determination, and it’s a good little ball team. I coached a lot of years, and this is one of the best teams I ever had.”
The first game was against the Clarke’s Harbour Foggies, and the Sting won 7-3. Bond was the starting pitcher and he had relief from MacDonald. Bryce Reynolds came in after that to pitch the last out. Connor Kelly had a pair of doubles and scored twice. Jordan Bissonette also had a double.
The second game was a 10-7 win against Pictou. Cameron MacDougall was the starting pitcher, and he also had a pair of singles. Bissonnette relieved, and Laurier Fougere had a double and single.
Game three was against the host Dartmouth Arrows, and it was the Sting’s third win of the weekend. Reynolds was the pitcher in a 16-4 win. Kelly was the relief man, and Bond was good with the bat, managing two doubles. MacDougall had a pair of singles, and Dobson Boudreau had a double and single.
Following the provincial win, the Sting will be attending Atlantics this weekend. The five-team tournament takes place in PEI with games taking place in Charlottetown and Stratford. The Sting’s first game is Friday, September 1, at 11 a.m. The locals will be playing the New Brunswick champs.