© John DeCoste
For one of only a few times so far this season, Ian Lockhart was in the Kentville Wildcats’ lineup July 23 against Truro. Lockhart had three hits at bat, and also made some impressive plays in the field, to help the ’Cats to just their second win of the NSSBL season. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
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.
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, 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.
“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,” said Wildcats head coach Ian Mosher.
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 and a double, and Ian Lockhart added three singles and a walk and added 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.
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.
Huge win: Mosher
“We got timely hitting from everybody,” Mosher said.
In his first-ever senior baseball start behind the plate, Colin Sampson caught the entire game and helped Conrad “hit all the right spots,” Mosher added.
“(Sampson) 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 called it “a huge game and a big win. Everybody played great defence, we got great pitching from Shayne and timely hitting.”
He added, “it also helped that we jumped on them early.”
Mosher termed the result “a big lift for us,” that he hoped would a little momentum heading into a crucial three-game series last weekend in Sydney. However, the weekend ended with a Sydney sweep, defeating Kentville 11-7 and 8-2.
The Wildcats return to action on July 29 as they travel to Halifax. Kentville's next home game is July 30 vs Dartmouth.