The Windsor Knights and Yarmouth Gateways will battle until the final weekend of the Nova Scotia Intermediate Baseball League's regular season for the fourth and final playoff position. However, the Knights took a huge step closer to securing that spot Aug. 12 with a pair of difficult wins over the Gateways.
The opening game took two hours and 40 minutes to play but with good reason —it went 13 innings.
With the teams tied 1-1, the bottom of the 13th began with Windsor's Paul Humphreys walking to first — marking only the second walk for the hometown team in the six extra innings of baseball.
Humpheys advanced to second when Kyle Burgess grounded out on a close play at first as the throw from the Yarmouth third baseman nearly pulled the first baseman off the bag.
Humphreys then went to third as Derek Hart bounced out to the first baseman, setting the stage for Cory Sanford's game-winning hit.
Sanford, with his second hit of the afternoon, stroked an RBI single to right field which caught the Yarmouth outfielder playing just a couple of extra feet too deep. This hit allowed Humphreys to make it home.
The second story of the afternoon was the pitching of Dave Swindall who said following the game, "after 149 pitches, I honestly felt I was getting stronger as the game went along.”
Swindall said there never was a point that he felt he might not be able to continue pitching.
Another highlight of the first game was the two exceptional plays on foul pop ups made by Gwenaël Dugué.
On the first, Dugué made a sliding attempt to prevent crashing into the fence and just missed making the out with an outstretched glove.
On the very next play, Dugué took even more of a beating as he slid near Windsor's dugout to grab a sinking foul ball. Although he ended up smashing his head on the ground, he still came up with the ball to make the second out of the 11th inning.
In the second game played late Sunday afternoon, the Knights took a 5-3 win to increase their league record to 7-16 on the season.
Their final regular season game will be against Noel Road on the Noel shore Aug. 19.
Yarmouth is 5-17 on the season and are preparing to play the 4-17 Bridgewater Bulldogs.
One thing Windsor will have working to their advantage if they end up in a tie for fourth place will be the four regular season wins they have over Yarmouth as Windsor also swept a doubleheader in Yarmouth in June by scores of 1-0 and 5-4.
Shamrocks, Pictou County still fighting for first
The Hantsport Shamrocks take their 17-5 record into play Aug. 19 at home against the 17-6 Pictou County Albions as the clubs close the regular season with a doubleheader with games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The Shamrocks split a pair of games at home with the Noel Road Blue Jays Aug. 12, winning the opener 3-0 before losing the second game 7-3.
In the opener, Hantsport scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning. Mike King doubled and tripled, driving in two runs for the home team while Eric Such, making his season debut for Hantsport, pitched a two-hitter, striking out three while walking five.
Damon Blois took the loss for Noel Road, allowing four hits, striking out three and walking three.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Blue Jays were in business early, scoring four times in the top of the first inning and adding two more in the sixth inning for a 7-3 win. The teams exchanged runs in the fifth inning. Hantsport scored their other two runs in the bottom of the third.
Nathan McCulloch went one for two with a pair of RBIs for the Blue Jays while Matt Mason connected for an RBI double. Anthony Miller pitched the win for Noel Road striking out nine Hantsport batters, while allowing seven hits and walking three.
Doug Coldwell took the loss, allowing six hits, walking three and striking out five. Shawn Croft and Chris Davison both went two for four for Hantsport and Adrian Lloy one for four with Davison and Lloy hitting RBI doubles.
Jays hammer Pictou County
After being rained out in Stellarton Aug. 2, the Noel Road Blue Jays carried heavy bats into their game Aug. 9, crushing the Albions 10-2.
The Blue Jays scored four times in the top of the fourth and added five more runs in the top of the seventh. The Blue Jays collected a total of 11 hits. Despite garnering nine hits, the Albions could only muster a pair of runs off of winning pitcher Justin Campbell.
McCulloch went three for four with three RBIs while Miller clubbed a two run double and Aaron MacPhee added another RBI double