RICHMOND COUNTY: It’s the middle of July, and the Isle Madame Mariners and Inverness Athletics sit tied for first place in the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association with matching records of 6-2.
Trailing them are the Little Anse Hawks (5-5), the Port Hawkesbury Bucs (3-4), the Petit de Grat Red Caps (3-6), and the St. Peter’s Royals (2-6).
One of the surprises this year relates to the Mariners and their pretty much consistent stay at the top of league standings. That’s not to say a good year wasn’t expected from the Mariners, but this is only the team’s fourth year in the RABA. With that, the Mariner roster is a fairly young one.
Coach Shawn Samson said the squad is playing very well and really learning the ins-and-outs of league play.
“If I had to sum it up, my Mariner team this year is one year older, one year stronger, one year more mature,” said Samson. “They’re learning the game and adapting to their surroundings, and it’s good to see.”
This weekend, the Mariners and the Hawks have exhibition games against the Baseball Nova Scotia U17 Selects. This Friday, the Mariners host the provincial team at 8 p.m. in Petit de Grat under the lights. On Saturday, the Selects will play the Hawks at 11 a.m. in Petit de Grat.
The Selects have a fair bit of local talent on the squad, including St. Peter’s native Cooper Fraser, and Tim Mann, Tyler Boudreau, and Keigan Murin, all of whom have connections to the county.
Samson noted that Boudreau has deep connections to the area and local baseball due to his grandfathers Raymond Boudreau and Adolphe Kehoe.
“Adolphe was a long-time manager of the Little Anse Hawks, and Raymond has always been involved in the community and supported baseball teams,” Samson said. “The fact that their grandson is playing that caliber of ball locally for a weekend is really something.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the caliber of kids from around here compares to the Nova Scotia U17 team. We have players like Zack Bond, who in my opinion has been one of the MVPs of this league for a couple of years; Dobson Boudreau, who might be the very best catcher in the league; and Callum Boudreau, who has incredible bat speed and power.”
The Mariners bullpen has proven very successful so far, with veteran players like Jimmy Bungay and Lloyd Samson throwing smoke along with younger players Bond, Dylan David, Drake Boudreau, and newly-acquired Cooper Fraser.
“I think we’ll have the best depth when it comes to pitching,” Samson said.
On Tuesday of last week, the Red Caps scored what might be considered an upset over the Isle Mariners. The final was 11-2, and the Mariners entered the game with a 5-0 record. The Caps entered the game with only one win in five starts.
Last Wednesday, the Hawks scored a 6-3 win over the host Bucs.
Leigh Bourque had a big game for the Hawks, as he cashed in four runners on a single and double. Rod Samson took the win on the plate, throwing five strikeouts in the process. Both Laurier Samson and Tyler Babin had two runs each.
For the Bucs, Dylan MacDonald was on the mound, and Greg Rioux went two for three with one run and one RBI. Lucien Gerroir had two singles and an RBI.
Little Anse scored a second win on Thursday, when taking to the field against the Red Caps. Clem Fougere pitched seven innings to garner the win, and David Paupin took the loss.
Hawk Leigh Bourque had a big game, going three-for-three with four RBIs and a run. Brandon Boudreau managed three singles and three RBIs, along with two runs, on four at bats. Ryan Samson (three singles and two RBIs) and Justin Delorey (three singles and three runs) had good games.
Last Saturday, the Royals took down the league-leading Mariners in the second game of a double header. The final was 9-8.
Darren Campbell was the winning pitcher, and Shaun Penny went two-for-four for the Royals. For the Mariners, Dylan David took the loss and also went three-for-four, while Jimmy Bungay had a homerun.
The first game was an 8-2 win for the Mariners. Zack Bond took the win on pitcher’s mound, and he also went four-for-four. The losing pitcher was Noel Jeffrey, and Marvin MacLean went two-for-two.
Last Sunday saw a pair of doubleheaders take place.
The Red Caps visited the Bucs, and each team came away with a win. The first went to the Bucs 4-2, and the second went to Petit de Grat 6-1.
The Hawks hosted the Athletics in the other double bill, with the Hawks winning 5-4 and then Inverness managing a 10-9 win.
Rod Samson took the win in the first game, and Quarrie Gillis was the losing pitcher. Clem Fougere had a great game for Little Anse, going two-for-four with a pair of RBIs and a run. Ryan MacDonnell was solid for Inverness, going three-for-three with one run and an RBI.
In the second game, Ryan MacDonnell took the win for the Athletics and Mitchel Farrell pitched a losing effort for the Hawks.
Quarrie Gillis went four-for-five with four runs and two RBIs, and Little Anse’s Leigh Bourque was two-for-three with two RBIs and two runs.
Upcoming action in the RABA includes the following games:
July 11: Hawks at Bucs (6:15 p.m.)
July 13: Mariners at Red Caps (6 p.m.)
July 14: Royals at Athletics (Doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.)
July 15: Athletics at Bucs (Doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.)
July 16: Mariners at Hawks (6 p.m.)
July 17: Royals at Red Caps (6:15 p.m.)
July 18: Bucs at Royals (6 p.m.)