The Midget AAA Wildcats with coaching staff, including Derek Atwater, Lyle Boylen, Warren Armstrong, Reid Michael and chef de mission Brian Hartt. Missing from the photo are players Travis Hartt, an outfielder from Hantsport; Logan Aker, a pitcher from Little Pond; Jaelin Trider, a pitcher from Dartmouth; and Keegan Gaskill, a pitcher from Hammonds Plains.
The Midget AAA Wildcats took an early lead in their final round robin game at the U18 Midget nationals.
The Kentville team is facing off against a tough Saskatchewan squad, which was 3-1 thus far in round robin action, while the Wildcats had two wins and two losses.
The game got underway with Kentville’s Brady Atwater walking to first, then advancing to second on a single from New Minas’ Mike Boylen. A sacrifice fly by Yarmouth’s Luke Muise to right field got Atwater to third as Boylen stole second and Dartmouth’s Jaelin Trider singled to bring both Atwater and Boylen home.
Logan Aker took to the mound for the Wildcats and held off Saskatchewan’s offence to keep the score 2-0 at the end of the first.
The Wildcats weren’t able to make it on base at the top of the second, but Aker’s arm kept the Prairies squad from doing any damage, leaving two Saskatchewan players stranded on base to end the inning.
Atwater was put out by Saskatchewan at the top of the third, but Liverpool’s Wes Harding singled, then stole second and advanced to third as Boylen was put out, but was left stranded as Saskatchewan caught Muise’s hit for out number three.
It was three up and three down for Saskatchewan as Aker threw 23 strikes and 15 balls thus far in the game.
Getting the jump on Saskatchewan early in the game, says coaching staff, is key to the strategy in today’s game.
“Absolutely – Logan Aker is pitching an incredible game and our defence is playing very well,” said Coach Michael Reid.
Wolfville’s Brett Long singled and Hantsport’s Travis Hartt was walked to first, allowing Long to advance to second. However, they were left stranded on base after Kingston’s Alec Armstrong struck out.
Saskatchewan singled and then a home run from Ben Komonosky tied up the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth. A third Saskatchewan player walked to first, then stole second and advanced to third on an error, but couldn’t do any further damage as Aker struck out the final Saskatchewan player to end the inning.
Atwater, Harding and Boylen were all put out by Saskatchewan’s defence, sending the Wildcats back onto the field to brace themselves for Saskatchewan’s batters. Aker walked Wynston Ramsay, who then stole second and made it to third on a single from one of his teammates, who then stole second. A sacrifice fly out to left field allowed Ramsay to score, with teammate Jordan Dezotell fast on his heels, making the score 4-2 for Saskatchewan. Aker allowed Kade Erickson to advance to first after he was struck by a pitch before the Wildcats retired him, putting Hammonds Plains pitcher Keegan Gaskell on the mound in his place.
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Erickson made it to second and Wyatt Schlosser to third on a wild pitch, but they were left hanging after the fielders did their job.
“I believe we can still turn it around,” said Reid as the batters began their offence at the top of the sixth.
Muise ended up walking to first, but didn’t stay there long – a home run from Trider quickly brought both of them home to tie up the game 4-4 with no outs. Trider’s hit was the first home run in the tournament for the Wildcats.
“It was crazy,” Reid said of the cheers that erupted from the bench as Hider put the ball out of the park.
White Rock’s Bradley Fuller made it to first on an error by the Saskatchewan shortstop, then advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Armstrong struck out swinging and was unable to bring him home.
Atwater and Harding were both put out quickly as Saskatchewan replaced its pitcher with fresh arms, but an error by the third baseman saw Boylen advance to first, but he was left stranded as Muise had the last out.
Gaskell quickly retired all three Saskatchewan batters to put the game into extra innings.
The Wildcats quickly got on base, with Boylen doubling, but the team was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, leaving the top of the period tied 4-4.
Saskatchewan came back to quickly load the bases, then scored the winning run to make it a 5-4 game.
The Wildcats will now move on to play for seventh place in a 3:30 p.m. AST game against Team
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