ARICHAT: After taking place in the spring in years past, fall high school baseball has begun with schools in the region hitting local ball diamonds.
Currently, École Beau-Port in Arichat, Richmond Academy in Louisdale and SAERC in Port Hawkesbury have fielded teams to decide who will represent the Highland Region at provincials scheduled to take place in the Central Zone on Oct. 15.
Following Baseball Nova Scotia rules for the U18 age group, École Beau-Port coach Brandon Boudreau said whoever emerges from this region could play larger schools from across the province, or possibly teams from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“It’s part of the league and the way the regional tournament works is we have to be seated one, two, and three,” Boudreau told The Reporter. “Once we’re seated after playing each four games, the second place and third place team will have a playoff game, and the winner of that will play the first place team, and the winner of that will go to provincials.”
On Sept. 25, École Beau-Port beat SAERC 10-4, with 13-year-old Jack Bona (a member of Nova Scotia’s U13 team) getting the win on the mound, while Grade 9 student Owen Richard picked up the save.
“(Bona) had quite a few (strikeouts). He got the (win),” Boudreau recalled. “He pitched an absolute gem. He went and pitched just maybe three pitches below his limit so that he only had to take three days off. And then Owen Richard came in for two innings and held them down too, he did amazing.”
On Sept. 21, École Beau-Port lost 5-3 to SAERC.
“Jensen David pitched the complete game,” Boudreau said of the loss. “It was amazing, a couple of little errors here and there, a couple of balls hit three or four feet to the other side of the player and we would’ve won. We had lots of good chances.”
On Sept. 26, SAERC beat Richmond Academy 12-7, with plans for the two teams to play again this week, while École Beau-Port is scheduled to play two games against Richmond Academy today (Sept. 29).
While his team has younger players and is from a smaller school than their opponents, Boudreau said the 14-member team has been competitive.
“Richmond Academy and SAERC, their teams are made up of Grade 9 to 12 and our team, last year and this year, is 7 to 12. This year, we have three or four of our key players are still in Grade 8, not even actually eligible,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to see what’s going to happen in two or three years when the core of our team right now is actually eligible to play.”
Boudreau and assistant coach Dylan David (who handles the pitchers) are both Richmond Amateur Baseball Association players, as well as school softball, and minor baseball coaches.
The École Beau-Port coach is hoping to host Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School in Antigonish for an exhibition game once they decide regionals.
At their first game, an exhibition game against SAERC on Sept. 17 which they won 15-7, as well as last Saturday’s game, Boudreau said there were big crowds at the ballfield in Petit de Grat. He added that he is encouraged by the support from the community.
“Ball comes and goes pretty quick. You don’t really start playing games until July. Then come the end of August, it’s done so this gives them an extra month of ball,” Boudreau added. “Our two home games, the field was just packed. Last night and the first Friday. We had some music, and each player had a walk-up song, we had somebody announcing names and playing music in between innings. It was a huge turn-out.”