Fawcetts exit nationals

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Thin on the bench, P.E.I. team drops tiebreaker game to Quebec at the senior men’s faspitch championship

Jamie MacDonald of the Gahan House Bud Light Fawcetts makes a throw in to Andy Chase during Thursday’s game against the Fredericton Twins at the national senior men’s fastpitch championship in Fredericton, N.B.

By Jody Jewers

The Guardian

FREDERICTON — The Gahan House Bud Light Fawcetts limped out of the Canadian senior men’s fastpitch championship with a 10-5 loss to Quebec Friday afternoon at the Prospect Street field.

The Island representatives wrapped up the 10-team tournament with just one win in seven starts.

“We don’t get to play a whole lot of ball over the summer at the same level that a lot of these teams do,” said Fawcetts coach George Drover. “It was a good experience for our younger guys to get a chance to play and, hopefully, they can build on that for next year.”

The Fawcetts were down to a thin bench for the tiebreaker contest for the eighth and final playoff position, with import pitcher Kyle Crawford having flown home to Ontario and third baseman Chris Craig returning to the Island for a wedding. Outfielder Jamie MacDonald was nursing a sore ankle and gutted out a couple of innings as a designated hitter before leaving the game with a tight hamstring.

With Crawford gone, that left another Ontario import, Mike Joseph, to carry the pitching load. It proved to be a sign of things to come when Quebec leadoff hitter Mathieu Roy sent Joseph’s second pitch of the game over the right-field fence for an early 1-0 lead.

The Fawcetts battled back to tie it when MacDonald’s RBI-single in the bottom of the frame cashed in Mike Grant, who had singled to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball.

The Fawcetts, who had been hitting .185 as a team coming into the contest, got the bats going in the fourth, opening up a 5-1 lead on RBI-singles from MacDonald and Joseph plus a two-run homer from Jay Duffy. But Quebec chipped away with a run in the fourth, then took command with a six-run fifth and two more in the sixth.

Miguel Mottard had a monster game for Quebec with four of his team’s 15 hits on two doubles, a triple and a single. Mathieu Roy homered and tripled, and Steve Savard socked a three-run homer and single.

Fifty-two-year-old Darren Zack came on in relief of starter Francis Leclair to earn the victory, giving up three hits and striking out four over the final 3.2 innings.

“We probably could’ve changed the game with a couple more runs and buried them when it was 5-1, but we didn’t and let them back in it. That’s the way she goes,” said Grant, a 29-year-old Antigonish, N.S., native living in Fredericton, who led his club with a double and two singles.

“Some young guys got some good experience, and you need that experience to be able to win games like that. Hopefully, the young guys will see what it takes to be able to win ball games and it’ll help them down the road.”

Mark Arsenault added a pair of singles and Curtis Reilly singled for the Fawcetts.

MacDonald led the Fawcetts with a .412 batting average for the week and Arsenault hit .400.

No Fawcetts players were named to the tournament all-star team announced last night, but Alberton native Jeff Ellsworth, playing for Three Cheers Pub of Newfoundland and Labrador, earned a spot in the outfield on the strength of a .533 average, two home runs and six RBIs.

Organizations: Gahan House Bud Light Fawcetts

Geographic location: Fawcetts, Quebec, Ontario Prospect Street Antigonish Fredericton Newfoundland and Labrador

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