Kentville took a lead in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League finals. - Jennifer Vardy Little
By John DeCoste
The 2013 Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League championship will be decided next weekend in Cape Breton after Sydney and Kentville split a pair of games Saturday at Memorial Park.
After the Wildcats took game three, the first game of the day, Saturday afternoon by an 8-3 score, Paul Doucette threw a complete-game two-hitter in a 1-0 Sydney victory in game four Saturday evening to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Game six and (if necessary) game seven will be next weekend in Sydney. Following game five this afternoon in Kentville, one of the teams will be one win away from the league title.
In the Saturday afternoon game, Alex Tufts, in his first appearance of the season for the Wildcats, threw a complete-game four hitter to stake Kentville to a two-games-to-one advantage. Sydney starter Anthony Ianetti, with relief from Aaron Guthro in the eighth inning, took the loss.
Mike Lockhart continued his strong play in the series with a single, double and four RBI to lead an 11-hit Wildcats' offense. Ian Lockhart contributed two singles and a double.
Billy MacKenzie added a double and Kevin Matheson two singles for the 'Cats. Codey Shrider and Jason Pleasant-Sampson each had a single and one RBI.
The Wildcats scored once in the third (to erase an early 2-0 Sydney lead), once in the sixth, twice in the seventh and four times in the eighth. Sydney's other run came in the fifth.
In the evening game, Chris Farrow singled and doubled and drove in the game's only run on an infield grounder in the second inning in what turned out to be a genuine pitcher's duel.
Kentville's Shayne Conrad scattered six hits in a complete-game performance, but Doucette was even better, allowing only one single each to Rob Shepherd and Mike Lockhart. Both pitchers used the strikeout to their advantage, with Doucette recording nine K's to Conrad's six.
The Wildcats will send veteran lefty Kevin Nichols to the mound for game five at 1 p.m. Sunday to try and take a three-games-to-two series lead heading back to Sydney.
See a slideshow of photos from the first game HERE.