By John DeCoste
The Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League final returns to Kentville this weekend tied at one game apiece after Kentville and Sydney split the first two games Sept. 28.
The Wildcats prevailed 11-10 in a wild opening game, with the Sooners holding on for a 6-4 win in game two that evening.
Game one was a back-and-forth struggle that featured four home runs. The hometown Sooners jumped out to a 3-0 lead, only to have the Wildcats claw back with single runs in the third and fourth and three in the fifth for a 5-3 lead.
After Sydney tied the score in the sixth, Kentville erupted for five runs in the top of the seventh. The Sooners got three of those back in the eighth to pull to within 10-8.
The ninth inning was more of the same, with Kentville scoring once in the top of the inning, then holding on as the Sooners came back with two.
Kevin Nichols picked up the win with relief from fellow lefty Joey Cavadini and Codey Shrider, who finished the game and earned a save. Paul Doucette, who was relieved by Anthony Ianetti in the seventh, took the loss.
For the Wildcats, who finished with 11 runs on 10 hits, Mike Lockhart and Shrider both hit three-run homers, and Curtis Falls added a solo shot. John Chapman’s double in the top of the ninth drove in the eventual game-winning run.
Loss in game two
In the second game, Shayne Conrad and Curtis Falls combined on a five-hitter, but Sydney made their hits count, turning them into six runs. Three of Sydney’s five singles came in the sixth inning when the Sooners scored four of their runs.
Kentville, which had 10 hits in the game, took a 2-0 first-inning lead on Mike Lockhart’s second home run of the day. The Wildcats added single runs in the sixth and seventh.
In the ninth, Kentville loaded the bases with one out, only to have Ianetti strike out the side, including the last two batters, to save the win for starter Justin Brewer.
For the Wildcats, in addition to Lockhart’s homer and single, Billy MacKenzie and Alex Ostrov each singled and doubled, and Falls and Colby Turple singled twice.
The series, now reduced to a best-of-five, resumes Saturday in Kentville with games at 3 and 7 p.m. Game five is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. If the series goes more than five games, the remainder will be played Oct. 12 in Sydney.