PORT HAWKESBURY: The Dan Willie Memorial Ballfield will be a busy spot next weekend as the Strait Area Sting host the Baseball Nova Scotia U15 Tier 2 Provincials.

On the weekend of Sept. 3-5, Port Hawkesbury will be the site of the tournament involving teams from Stewiacke, Oxford and Hammonds Plains.

The Sting will play the first game of the weekend tournament on Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. versus Stewiacke. They will play their next game on Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. against Oxford, then their final game of the round-robin portion at 2 p.m. that same day when they will take on Hammonds Plains.

“We will be competitive,” Sting head coach Jason Aucoin told The Reporter. “I want to congratulate our players on the great sportsmanship this year. Some games were rough games, and maybe not the way they wanted to see them in the scorebook, but the kids have always stayed positive.”

Aucoin said they are a young team that has shown improvement throughout the season.

“The majority of our team are first year U15 players as opposed to second year,” he noted. “At the start of the year, we looked at our numbers, and usually on a Bluenose team, you’ll only take 12 players because everybody bats. Had we done that, we would’ve had four kids that would’ve had nowhere to play ball this year. We decided to go in the true meaning of minor sports and we kept everybody so everybody would have a place to stay and play. I think, overall, that’s been a challenge, but a challenge we’re okay with. I would rather have some fun, and maybe not do so well in the standings, but have everybody be able to play who wants to play.”

The head coach said, it’s not always about wins and losses.

“These kids, there’s no quit in them. We practice twice a week, we have about an 85 per cent attendance at practice; everybody’s improving,” Aucoin said. “Sport, to me, is more than just sport, there’s life skills learned at the ballfield or the hockey rink, whatever sport it may be.”

Before the second game of the tournament on Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m., Aucoin said there will be an opening ceremony.

“We’ll have all four teams on the field at that point, we’ll have somebody from the town for a welcoming, somebody to sing O’ Canada, and welcome these three teams to our community,” he noted.

The Port Hawkesbury Town Councillor said it’s good for the town to host such events.

“We have three teams that will be coming from away, and they will be spending money in our community, and the support from the town on most provincials has been top-notch,” he said. “I’m very happy with that, staff and the town. It’s good for our local businesses. We’ve got some local businesses that stepped up to the plate to donate some stuff, whether it be for our canteen, or water for the teams, whatever the case may be. They’ve had real good support from the community.”

Also of note for Aucoin is the help of U18 players Emmet MacIver and Ethan Richards, along with assistant coaches Scott Oakley and Tina Madden.

“They want give back to the kids, to the community, and I thought that was just an absolutely fantastic offer from them two young fellas,” he noted. “What’s a little more impressive about these two students is they’re working full-time hours all summer, and they’re at pretty much every practice.”

The head coach asked for the public to come on out and support the local squad.

“Having local support in the stands, is almost like having a tenth player on the field,” he added. “We have been lucky this summer with the support from the community at our ball games. Generally, minor ball, you don’t usually see that many out but we’ve had good attendance this year, and I’m really happy with that.”