© John DeCoste
Nick Tibert of the junior Wildcats baseball team at bat against the Nova Scotia Youth Selects.
With a record of four wins and five losses to start the season, Kentville junior Wildcats baseball coaches Derek Atwater and Lyle Boylen are “relatively pleased” with the team’s play so far.
The juniors, in their first season in the provincial U-21 league, were in action five times during the week starting June 1, including a pair of weekend doubleheaders June 7 in Hantsport and June 8 in Kentville.
On June 4, Kentville was on the road to play the Halifax Mets on the Halifax Commons. The Wildcats won 10-1 behind a complete game two-hitter from pitcher Wes Harding.
Jeff Longaphy led the offence with a single, double and homer and three RBI, while Dryden Schofield chipped in a double and triple and also drove in three.
On June 7, the ’Cats were in Hantsport for a doubleheader and left town with a split, losing the first game 8-7 and winning the second 10-1.
In the first game, the Wildcats got off to what Boylen termed “a terrible start,” and after five innings, trailed 8-0.
“On the positive side, we mounted a comeback to pull the score back to 8-7. Unfortunately, we left the bases loaded in the seventh,” he said, and the game ended in an 8-7 Hantsport victory.
Japanese exchange student Shodai Fushino contributed three innings of scoreless relief for the Wildcats.
Game two was a different story. Backed by five solid innings from starting pitcher Christian Vogler and solid relief from Schofield, Kentville won 10-1.
The Wildcats got plenty of offence, led by two hits, two walks and four runs scored from Adam Gardner.
When they headed home to Memorial Park in Kentville June 8, the ’Cats took on the Nova Scotia Youth Selects, who had Kings County natives Cameron MacPherson from Canning and Jake Lonar from Coldbrook on their roster.
Boylen described the results as “ugly,” as the Wildcats dropped both ends of the doubleheader by scores of 14-3 and 7-1.
In the first game, the Youth Selects led 6-2 after six innings, then scored eight runs in the seventh. Kentville got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, but ended up on the short end of a 14-3 score.
The second game was more of the same. The Youth Selects showed their depth and talent, and the Wildcats could mount little offence off Lonar, who earned the win.
“We came out flat and stayed that way all afternoon,” Boylen said. “The only thing I can think of is too many games in a short period of time with a small weekend roster.”
Kentville was also missing a couple of key pitchers, he added.
The Wildcats are next at home June 29, when they host Hantsport in a doubleheader with games scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m.