The Kentville junior Wildcats finished the national elimination tournament with a 1-3 record, reaching the semifinals before being eliminated by host Dartmouth.
Kentville opened the tournament with an 8-3 loss to Cape Breton, then lost their second round robin game 5-4 to Hantsport.
In their final round robin game July 27, the Wildcats dropped Halifax by a 10-1 score to qualify for the semifinals, where they were edged 2-1 by Dartmouth in a game that coach Lyle Boylen termed “tough to lose, but a great game to watch.”
Bradley Fuller threw a complete game against a tough opponent.
“Our goal,” Boylen said, “was to get to the semifinals and have Bradley available to pitch, which we accomplished.”
Kentville left seven runners on base, and Boylen said a few more hit at key times would have made a difference.
In the win over Halifax, which advanced Kentville to the semifinals, Nick Tibert threw the complete game, and Ryan Kaulback, Jeff Longaphy and Tibert led the offense. Tibert singled, doubled and tripled.
Against Hantsport, Dryden Schofield pitched the complete game, allowing just one earned run. The Wildcats had one bad inning, in which they gave up four runs courtesy of a couple of errors and a balk that allowed a runner on third to score.
Against Cape Breton, the Wildcats “did not play well and didn’t deserve to win,” Boylen said. The Cape Breton pitcher ”was very effective” and deserved full marks for the victory.
Kentville starter Christian Vogler lasted just four batters before leaving with a recurrence of a shoulder injury that Boylen suggested had likely ended his season. Seamus Lewin took the mound on short notice and “went deep into the game.” Boylen felt the Vogler injury may have thrown everyone off, as the Wildcats went on to play a poor game defensively.
“(Kentville) got off to a slow start and finished strong, not surprising for a young club that is still growing together,” Boylen added.
The Wildcats were short on players, but that had been the case all season.
“Going into next season, that will be our biggest challenge to address, the ability to have a full roster available when we really need it,” Boylen said.
Kentville will lose only Longaphy from its roster due to age.
“We’ll really miss him, but the top teams lose a lot more than that, especially Tri-County, so next year we hope to have more success,” he added.
Hantsport also finished the tournament with a 1-3 record, losing 5-4 to Dartmouth, edging Kentville 5-4, losing 11-1 to Tri-County, then losing 14-4 to Tri-County in the semifinals.
The July 27 final between Dartmouth and Tri-County was postponed due to rain.