The Week in NSSBL
The Dartmouth Moosehead Dry and the Halifax Pelham Molson Canadians have travelled to Chatham, NB to participate in the Canadian Senior Baseball League Championship.
The tournament kicked off Thursday morning, and the teams from Nova Scotia will be in action. Dartmouth plays its first game at noon against Alberta representative, the Red Deer Riggers. Halifax kicks things off against the team from Windsor, ON this afternoon at 4:00 pm.
The Moose Dry will send recently-out-of-retirement Jason Bailey to hill in the opener. Since retuirning to the club in July Bailey has shown no rust going 3-0 and recently struck out 13 Truro Bearcats in five inniings of work.
Thanks to the fallout from the Ontario provincial qualifying rounds, the Dry will get an extra boost to their roster. The Toronto Maple Leafs of the Ontario Inter-County Baseball League lost the seventh and deciding game to the Brantford Red Sox in the league semi-finals yesterday, thus paving the way for star pitcher Marek Deska and secondbaseman Robert Gillis to join the team.
The Dry have also announced the addition of RHP Greg Byron, a hard-throwing member of the Barrie Baycats, also of the Inter-County League. Byron played with Doucette at the World Baseball Challenge, recently played in Prince George, B.C.
The Halifax Pelham Molson Canadians head to this year’s Baseball Canada Senior Championships without two of their premier players. However, they are still brimming with enthusiasm over the opportunity to bring a medal back to Halifax.
Halifax will be missing two of their top pitchers as veteran righthander, Mark Haverstock, along with ace southpaw, Barrett Bellefontaine, will not be making the trip for starkly different reasons.
“I made a commitment last year to participate in the 2011 World Police and Fire Games in New York well before we learned about the nationals” said Haverstock, a proud firefighter. Bellefontaine injured his elbow earlier this summer and it has not responded as hoped. So rather than risk further injury, he will not suit up.
The Canadians went out and got some quality arms to add to the staff in righthanders Paul Doucette and Justin Brewer as well as lefty, Kenny Long, from the Sydney Sooners in addition to righties, Craig Field and John Chapman, from the Truro Bearcats.
“Our team will battle from start to finish, but we hope the other teams overlook us, knowing our pitching situation,” said Haverstock. “These guys have all proven to have a lot of heart and determination when we’ve squared off against them over the years and I’m sure they will all give a good accounting of themselves.”
Sluggers, Guy Pellerine, from Truro and the veteran, Cory Christie, from Sydney will give added depth and muscle to the lineup, as will Doucette. Anyone who overlooks the Canadians should probably take note that they enter the tournament with three wins over the perennially powerful Dartmouth Moosehead Dry this season and are 11-3 over the last month.
New Canadian Senior Home Run King
A new home run king has been crowned at the annual HR Derby held on the eve of the Canadian Senior Baseball Championship, but it’s the runner-up the crowd in awe.
Windsor Stars’ outfielder, Justin Pennell, outlasted the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry’s Darren Doucette, stroking three homeruns to Doucette’s one in the third and final round of the competiton.
Pennell, a 6’1″, 235 lb. slugger with the bat speed of a professional, launched some monster shots over the green wall at Ironmen Field in Chatham, NB. Doucette answered and actually out-homered Pennell 10-5 overall, but it was the distance that impressed those in attendance on many of the shots. Like a scene out the movie The Natural, one dinger struck one of the lights in outfield light standard, turning it around. Folks familair with the park estimated it to have travelled at least 435′.
Work crews at Ironmen Field promise to have the light adjusted in time and would not affect tournament play.
Halifax Pelham Molson Canadians’ star, Scott Willgress, gave a good account of himself, coming close on a few strokes, but ultimately came up empty.
Secondbaseman Adam Lucas of the Halifax Pelham Molson Canadians has been chosen the Cleve’s Source for Sports Player of the Week in the NSSBL. Lucas, a consistent hitter with the Canadians over the past number of years, had a big week in the team’s three consecutive wins. He had a total of 11 hits in 16 at bats (.687), pushing his season average to .400.
Lucas’s biggest game was Saturday, in the first game of a doubleheader. He went 5/5 with two RBIs against the Bearcats. In the second game he stroked his first home run of the season and added two singles while driving in four.
In the Halifax’s come-from-behind victory over the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry on Thursday he added three more singles.
All tolled, he drove in nine runs while scoring six times over the week.
Others considered for the award were Lucas’ teammate, Mark Haverstock, the Dry’s Darren Doucette, Sydney’s Cory Christie, and Truro’s Guy Pellerine