By John DeCoste
The Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League championship will be decided with either one or two games on Oct. 12 in Sydney.
The Kentville Wildcats lead the best-of-seven series three games to two after taking two of the three games played this past weekend at home in Memorial Park, and are one win away from their first NSSBL title in 13 years.
Sydney will need to win twice on Oct. 12 to claim its first league championship in 30 years.
Pitching was front and centre in the three games this past weekend at Memorial Park. Kentville won game three Oct. 5 8-3, Sydney took game four that evening by a 1-0 score and the Wildcats completed the weekend series with a 9-2 win Oct. 6.
In game three, Alex Tufts, making his first appearance of the season, threw a complete-game four hitter for the win. Anthony Ianetti, with relief from Aaron Guthro in the eighth inning, took the loss.
Mike Lockhart, one of Kentville’s top batters in the series so far, singled, doubled and drove in four runs, three of them on a bases-loaded double in the eighth when the Wildcats scored four times to put the game out of reach.
Ian Lockhart added two singles and a double, Billy MacKenzie a double and Kevin Matheson two singles. Codey Shrider and Jason Pleasant Sampson each singled and drove in a run.
In the evening game, Chris Farrow singled, doubled and drove in the game’s only run on an infield grounder in the second inning.
Wildcats’ starter Shayne Conrad scattered six hits and had six strikeouts in a performance that would have won most games, but Sydney’s Paul Doucette was even better, allowing just two singles – one each to Shepherd and Mike Lockhart –
and striking out nine.
Veteran Kevin Nichols took the mound for the Wildcats in game five Oct. 6 and pitched eight innings before giving way to Shrider, who finished the game.
The two pitchers combined on a four-hitter, and they were well supported offensively as Kentville ended up with nine runs on 16 hits and four Sydney errors.
The Wildcats scored three times in the second inning and added four more in the fourth to lead 7-1 and end Sydney starter Justin Brewer’s day.
Kevin Matheson led the way with two singles, a double and three RBI. Mike Lockhart added four singles and two RBI, and Curtis Falls chipped in three singles and also drove in two. Alex Ostrov singled, doubled and had one RBI, while Shepherd had a pair of singles.
Sean Ferguson and Cory Christie had one RBI apiece for the Sooners.
Game six of the series is set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Susan MacEachern Memorial Park in Sydney. If the Sooners win and force a seventh game, it will begin at 6 p.m. that evening.
See a slideshow HERE from Game 3.