© John DeCoste
Kyle Dougan of the Kentville senior Wildcats is congratulated by his teammates following his grand slam home run in the fourth inning, the big hit in Kentville's 13-3 win over Truro. Dougan had six RBIs on the night to lead Kentville to just its second win of the season.
Dougan sparks 13-hit attack with grand slam
The Kentville senior Wildcats were badly in need of a win July 23 at Memorial Park, both to stop the bleeding of an 11-game losing streak and to stay within shouting distance of an NSSBL playoff berth.
To their credit, the Wildcats did just that, scoring in bunches en route to a 13-3 win over the Truro Bearcats, just their second victory of the season against 14 losses.
The Bearcats opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Kentville responded by batting around and scoring five in their half of the inning.
The Wildcats added a pair of runs in the second inning to make it 7-2, and after Truro responded with a single run, Kentville batted around for a second time in the fourth, scoring six more runs for a 13-3 lead. Wildcats’ starting pitcher Shayne Conrad did the rest, going the distance and allowing just six hits.
With Curtis Falls out of the province and not available, the Wildcats’ lineup – which included shortstop Ian Lockhart for one of only a few times so far this season – responded by scoring 13 runs on 13 hits.
Kyle Dougan had the big blow, clubbing a grand slam home run that highlighted the six-run fourth. Dougan also had a sacrifice fly and reached base on an error, and was credited with six RBI.
John Ansara contributed two singles, a double and one RBI, and Ian Lockhart added three singles, a walk, one RBI and some solid play at shortstop.
Codey Shrider had two singles, Rob Shepherd a double, and Jason Pleasant-Sampson had two RBI courtesy of a single and a bases-loaded walk. “We got timely hitting from everybody,” head coach Ian Mosher said after the game.
In his first-ever senior baseball start behind the plate, Colin Sampson caught the entire game and helped Conrad “hit all the right spots.”
Former Wildcat John Chapman, the Truro player-coach, singled and doubled and drove in all three of his team‘s runs. Truro starter Josh Fushtey took the loss, with Nick Best appearing in relief.
Speaking afterwards, Mosher termed it “a huge game and a big win. Everybody played great defense, we got great pitching from Shayne and timely hitting.” He added, “it also helped that we jumped on them early.”
Mosher stressed, “what a difference it makes when Ian Lockhart steps on the field. He’s a calming influence, and he brings an expectation that raises everyone else’s level of play.”
Mosher also had praise for Sampson, who “did a great job behind the plate, called a great game, got a couple of hits and made a real contribution.”
Unfortunately, Sampson, who normally plays for the Hantsport juniors, will no longer be able to play for the Wildcats, as the signing deadline is fast approaching and he is not an affiliated player.
Mosher termed the result “a big lift for us,” providing a little momentum heading into a crucial three-game series this weekend in Sydney that will likely be “our challenge of the season so far.”
With Falls likely still unavailable and Conrad having pitched seven innings Wednesday, “we’ll be going up there undermanned,” especially in terms of pitching.
“It’ll be a very difficult situation for us,” Mosher said. “We’ll just have to do the best we can and see what happens.”