Joey Cavadini certainly picked an opportune time to earn his first senior baseball victory. Cavadini, whose usual baseball address is care of the Tri-County juniors, got the start for Kentville Thursday evening at Memorial Par and departed with a 7-4 lead in the sixth inning. - John DeCoste
By John DeCoste
The Kentville Wildcats have advanced to the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League final after winning their best-of-five semi-final series with Halifax three games to one.
In the fourth and ultimately deciding game Sept. 19, the Wildcats finally managed to win a playoff game at home, though as it turned out, it was neither easy nor a sure thing.
With Codey Shrider in Toronto at a Blue Jays ID camp, lefty Joey Cavadini, whose usual baseball address is care of the Tri-County Juniors, got the start and made the best of it, earning his first Senior baseball win with relief from John Chapman.
Cavadini pitched into the sixth inning, allowing seven hits and leaving with a 7-4 lead. Chapman finished the game, which saw the Wildcats hold on for a 10-8 win.
Win at home
With Halifax starter Mark Haverstock both wild and increasingly frustrated, the Wildcats scored three times in the second and added another run in the fourth, all on bases-loaded walks.
Halifax came back with two in the top of the fifth, but Kentville responded with three in the bottom of the fifth. Halifax scored two in the top of the eighth, but again, the Wildcats responded with three in the bottom of the inning.
A pair of Halifax runs in the top of the ninth only served to make a 10-6 game a 10-8 game before Chapman shut the door on the regular season winners.
The Canadians made good use of their hits all evening, scoring eight times on just 10 hits. Tyler Fancy led the way with two doubles, a single and three RBI.
As for the Wildcats, after leaving 13 men on base through five innings, they got the key hits when they needed them in the late innings, led by Mike Lockhart who finished with two singles, a double and five RBI. Lockhart’s bases-loaded double in the eighth ended up being the difference in the game.
Billy MacKenzie added two singles, a double and one RBI, Rob Shepherd had a two-run double and regular season batting champion Ian Lockhart a pair of singles.
Strong on the road
In game three Sept. 18 in Halifax, the Wildcats took a 2-1 series lead behind a complete-game performance from Kevin Nichols. MacKenzie and Kevin Matheson had two RBI each to key an 11-hit Kentville offense.
On Sept. 17, the Wildcats had an opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead at Memorial Park, but instead, Halifax tied the series at a game apiece with a 1-0 victory.
Colby Turple was solid on the mound for the Wildcats, pitching seven innings and striking out 10. Turple departed in favour of Curtis Falls with his team trailing 1-0 because Halifax starter Craig Field was even better.
Field ended up throwing a complete-game, three-hit shutout and striking out nine. Matheson, Shepherd and Mike Lockhart each had a single for Kentville.
For Halifax, which ended up with six hits, Fancy had a pair of singles, Ryan Veinot added a single, and Shawn Peverill also singled.
The game’s only run came in the third inning, when Peverill’s soft liner eluded Kentville second baseman Matheson, scoring Veinot from third base.
In the series opener Sept. 15, the Wildcats combined strong pitching and timely hitting for a 6-1 road victory.
Shrider pitched seven and two-thirds innings of two-hit baseball to pick up the win. Turple allowed just one additional hit the rest of the way.
Turple also led the way offensively with three singles and three RBI. Shepherd added two singles and one RBI, Matheson chipped in a pair of singles and Mike Lockhart a double to pace a 12-hit Kentville attack.
Mosher proud of effort
“This was the team we always knew we had. What we have done is give ourselves an opportunity to beat the best team in the regular season by taking care of business at home,” said Wildcats’ head coach Ian Mosher following game one.
“We’ve not treated our fans very well at Memorial Park during the playoffs in recent years. This is a chance to atone for that.”
While they fell just short Sept. 17, on Sept. 19, they delivered.
With their mix of youth and experience, Mosher believes the Wildcats “can be champions, but to do so, we will have to play great for more than one game. We will have to play that way for the next three weeks.”
The Wildcats now await the winner of the Sydney-Dartmouth semi-final, which was tied at one game apiece entering games this past weekend in Sydney. Kentville will open the final series on the road.