ANTIGONISH: The season is over for the StFX baseball team after falling to St. Mary’s University in the Atlantic university baseball wild card series on March 13 and 14.
StFX qualified for the play-off round for the first time in team history with five Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA) players: Jamieson Sampson and Brandon Boudreau of the Little Anse Hawks, and from the champion Isle Madame Mariners Zach Bond, Joel Fougere and Drake Boudreau.
Head coach Dean Marchand, a native of Louisdale and a former RABA player, said the local players were integral to their success this year.
“They represented very well,” Marchand said. “Drake was an outfielder and a relief pitcher. Jamieson played some outfield and infield. Brandon and Zack were probably two of the better performers.”
In recent years, StFX has boasted a strong RABA flavour with players like Alex Chisholm, Bryden Boudreau, James Williams, Mike Tobin, and Jared MacNeil, in addition to former Antigonish player and current coach Dwayne Russell, as well as former players Eddie Bungay and Leon Burt who umpired home games this year.
In a university club league with the University of New Brunswick, St. Mary’s, Dalhousie, Acadia, and Holland College as an affiliate team, StFX played a 16-game schedule this year, finishing in third place with a 6-10 record, good enough for a play-off berth which they lost to Acadia in the semi-final before losing to SMU in the wild card round.
Because the team is a club, not a varsity team, it is entirely student-funded with the team required to fundraise and depend on volunteers to coach, Marchand explained.
Aside from money, Marchand said the biggest need is strong pitching since the best teams in the league always have an advantage on the mound. He said that will be a priority for StFX heading into next season.
To further build a program that once went 0-16, Marchand expects there will be an influx of players next year, including Isle Madame Mariners catcher Dobson Boudreau.
“Next year we’re looking forward to building on this year,” the head coach stated. “There’s a quite a lot of parity in the league, it’s pretty close.”