NS Baseball Action Set to Go

The 2012 Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League is set to begin its 35th season of play. Tuesday, May 22th the 2011 league champion Halifax Pelham Canadians host the Kentville Wildcats at the Mainland Commons. If you can’t make it out for the 7:30 pm first pitch, catch the Season Opener live on Sportstream.ca.

The Wildcats return home to play the Truro Bearcats on Wednesday at Memorial Park. The 16 time provincial champions Dartmouth Moosehead Dry will welcome Sydney to Beazley Field on Friday night for a three game series.

Here a look at some of what you can expect from the 2012 NSSBL Season:

Dartmouth Moosehead Dry
2011 Results: 1st place, 25-7, beat Sydney 3-0 in semi-finals, lost to Halifax in 7 game finals.
Head Coach – Darren Doucette; Asst. – Bobby Gillis

The youth movement has begun in Dartmouth with the retirements of Jason Bailey (who returned briefly last season) and 21 year veteran Joel Irvine – most likely the best all-round player in league history. RHP Craig Langille has decided to take the 2012 season off and the return of Steve Nelson to the mound is also questionable after suffering an arm injury during last years’ playoffs. This year’s staff will again be anchored by closer Jeff Reeves (4-1, 1.62 ERA), however the rest of the staff – Cam Marling, Shain Beaudreau, Craig Sinyard and Justin Davies are young, talented and looking to prove themselves in the top league in the province. The Dry have also added Jason Smith who played a partial season with the Truro Bearcats in 2011. Offensively, the Dry will again look to Chris Head (.385 AVG, 43 SB) and Matt Thomas (.319, 16 SB) to set the table for the big bats of perennial MVP candidate Greg West (.421 AVG, 20 RBI) and the league’s All-Time Home Run Leader Darren Doucette (.336, 13 HR, 35 RBI). The Dry have added former UBC player OF Mike Loizides, who will be expected to pick up some of the offensive void with the retirement of Irvine. Dan Comeau will take over the 3rd base duties for the Dry and Colin Johnson will get a full season at 2B this year after a stellar 2011 season with the bat. Justin stephens will once again handle the catching duties with Chris Gallivan returning at shortstop. Rookie Matt Harding will see time in the OF and DH in 2012.

Halifax Pelham Canadians
2011 Results: 2nd place, 21-11, stopped Kentville 3-1 in semi-finals, beat the Dry in finals 4-3
Coaches: Mark Pelham, Mark Haverstock, Ryan Veinot

With a full year of experience now under their belts, expectations are high among the Canadians’ coaching staff. Considering the fact they were able to keep things together amid the unfortunate loss of the circuit’s top right hander and playoff MVP, Mark Haverstock, during the finals, combined with the ill health of lefthander Barrett Bellefontaine, the pressure fell squarely on the shoulders of the remaining members of their pitching staff. They rose to the occasion and rode an impressive game seven performance from big right hander Steve Ivey, who blanked the potent Dry bats for eight innings, en route to a 5-2 clinching win in Dartmouth. Remarkably, Haverstock (9-4) has made an amazing recovery and will team with Ivey (3-3) and newcomer Craig Field who comes aboard from the Truro Bearcats. The Halifax offense will once again be ignited by the veteran trio of shortstop, Ryan Veinot (.368), all-star outfielder, Mark Pelham (.391) and all-star infielder, Adam Lucas (.398), with Shawn Peverill (30 RBI), Josh Pelham (21 RBI) and Scott Willgress (19 RBI) looking to drive them home. Outfielders Paul Davie (.277) and Brandon Devlin (.310) round out the regular position players, with veterans Shawn Walsh (.300) and Randy Stewart (.286) handling the staff. As defending NSSBL champions, the Canadians will represent Nova Scotia at the 2012 Canadian Senior Baseball Championships in Prince George, BC beginning August 23.

Kentville Wildcats
2011 Results: 3rd place, 16-16, lost to Halifax 3-1 in semi-finals
Head Coach – Ian Mosher, Asst – Chris Salsman, Chris Randall

Kentville will run out a deep veteran lineup and veteran pitching staff; some additions will create depth and give the team confidence needed to make it past the first round of the playoffs in several years. Former Truro Bearcat, Billy MacKenzie (.404 avg) will bolster an already deep lineup that includes 2011 all-stars Ian and Mike Lockhart. Kevin Matheson (.381) is expected to have another great year at the plate. Young pitchers Alex Tufts, Curtis Sampson, Christian Vogler and Shaun Marshall hope to get Kentville over the hump. New comer catcher Trevor Zoney(B.C.) will provide depth at the catching position after a strong rookie season from Josh Parker. The rest of the pitching staff is solid and is led by Kevin Nichols. Curtis Falls, Shayne Conrad, Trevor Wamback, Cory Kent, Kevin Daurie and Clyde Landry. Nick Hill and Les Berry will share the duties at 3rd base and Jason Pleasant Sampson and Rob Shepherd will provide solid defence in center field.

Sydney Sooners
2011 Results: 4th place, 10-22, lost to Dartmouth 3-0 in the semi-finals
Head Coach – Jim “Rico” MacEachern

Constant roster turnovers are a necessity for Sydney, which plays the league’s toughest schedule with games every weekend. This season will be the first full season without Beau Chaisson and Jason Snow, both have been key members of the Sooners and representing Dartmouth or Halifax in recent National tournaments. This season expect a young defensive team with Jeff Maxner and 2011 NSSBL MVP, Cory Christie (.378, 31 RBI’s) expected to carry the load offensively in the 2012 season. One of the best defensive the league has seen Matt Denney will be handling the catching duties. Justin Brewer had another strong season finishing 3rd in innings pitched and 2nd in strikeouts. Paul Doucette continues to be an inning eater and a good bat in the middle of the lineup. Nick Shaw and Kenny Long hope to have solid seasons on the mound and contribute offensively.

Truro Bearcats
2011 Results: 5th place, 8-24, missed playoffs
Head Coach – Scott MacGillivray

There is plenty of optimism this year as many new and young players have joined the Bearcats for the 2012 NSSBL Season. The Bearcats return long time veterans Guy Pellerine SS/3B (.357), J.P. Wood 1B/2B (.345), Darson Murphy LF (.344), John Chapman C/RHP (.333), and Joe MacPherson RF (.302) will add some clout. Also returning are big LHP Brandon Malally, Adam Lombard CF, Scott Baillie C/3B and Dan Bates OF/RHP. Also making a return to NSSBL action after a couple of years absence are RHP/3B George Chapman, Jason Blois RHP/OF, and Trevor Cloney OF. Excitement surrounding the Bearcats in 2012 is the number of young players out with the team, Sean Harvie RHP, Mike Tobin 2B/SS BNS Major Player of the Year 2011, Troy Fisher OF/C, Josh Fustey RHP/3B and Brandon MacKay OF, all bring a young desire to play and contribute to the Bearcats for 2012. Returning pitchers are Brandon Malally, John Chapman, and Dan Bates. New hurlers joining the team are Tony Stewart RHP/3B from Hantsport Intermediates, Sean Harvie RHP, Josh Fustey RHP, George Chapman RHP, and Jason Blois RHP.

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