The playoff picture in the Nova Scotia Intermediate Baseball League is still murky as a single weekend of regular season action remains plus the potential of two to four make-up games could be played.
The Windsor Knights stayed two points ahead of the Hantsport Shamrocks for the fourth and final playoff position as a result of a pair of wins in Clark's Harbour, Shelburne County, on Sunday. The Knights defeated the Schooners 9-3 in the opener, and then 3-0.
Ryan Clarke pitched a complete game win in the opener and struck-out seven Schooners. The Knights scored three runs in the first inning on a walk, a hit batter and a double from a Mike Johnson.
Clarke also helped himself offensively with a RBI single while Cory Whitney collected a two-run single.
Paul Humphreys threw the second game, allowing only a pair of hits.
The Knights scored their first run on a ball and a Josh Shankel RBI groundout. Wade Flynn added an RBI double.
The two wins leaves the Knights with a 12-8 record for 44 points — one point behind the third place Pictou County Albions and two points ahead of fifth place Hantsport.
Shamrocks split doubleheader against Pictou
On Sunday in Hantsport, the Shamrocks defeated the Pictou County Albions 6-4 in the opening weekend doubleheader.
Roland Provencal lashed a two-run single to give the Shamrocks the lead in the fourth inning. Ross Coburn, in his first game of the season for the Shamrocks, then laced a two-out double to give Hantsport their 6-4 lead late in the game.
Matt Lloy pitched the win, allowing 10 hits, but no walks, while striking out four.
The second game was an entirely different story as the Albions went through four Hantsport pitchers on their way to a 13-0 victory.
The Albions collected 15 hits over five innings off of Taylor Welch, Ben Johnson, Mike King — who was ejected by the umpire — and Adrian Lloy.
Blue Jays fall to Gateways
The Yarmouth Gateways continued their sizzling play as of late, sweeping a doubleheader from the Noel Road Blue Jays by scores of 2-0 and 8-4 to vault the Gateways into second place in the league standings. They have a 16-4 record and are five points behind the first place Blue Jays.
In the opener, Justin Campbell, who managed to garner the only hit for Noel Road, was the losing pitcher.
In the second game, Darrell McClellan went three for three with four runs batted in for the losing cause. Nate McCulloch also went three for three with a double.
The Shamrocks, who have won nine consecutive NSIBL championship titles — 12 in the past 14 years — still occupy fifth place going into the final weekend of play. They have a record of 10 wins and 12 losses, compared to Windsor's 12-8 and Pictou's 13-6. A win results in three points, while a loss results in one point.
On the opening weekend of August, the Shamrocks lost a pair of 2-1 games to Yarmouth to make their playoff run that much more difficult.
They conclude their regular season with a pair of games in Shelburne County Sunday, Aug. 17.
On Sunday, Windsor also travels to Noel Road to take on the Kennetcook Braves for their final two games of the season.
Noel Road will be heading to Pictou County for a single game Friday night, Aug. 15, to play under the lights.
It remains to be seen whether Pictou County will play their two make-up doubleheaders with Windsor and Yarmouth.
Depending on how the playoff picture looks following play next weekend, Yarmouth or Noel Road will be hosting NSIBL championship.
Provincial championship news
Hantsport has been awarded the Intermediate AAA Provincial Championship Tournament by Baseball Nova Scotia for the Labour Day weekend.
However, plans are up in the air as to whether they can actually host the provincials.
“As much as we would like to play more games in Hantsport this year, officials are now going over plans and it does not seem possible that we can host a 10-team tournament,” said Shamrocks spokesperson Deron Moores.
Even with using Windsor as a second field, there is difficulty in scheduling 23 games in three days as neither field has lights for nighttime play.
“Hopefully we will know more in the coming days, as several officials are involved in talks."