O’Leary wins P.E.I. senior fastpitch championship
O’Leary — The O’Leary Summerside Chrysler Eagles are Island senior men’s fastpitch champions. They beat the Charlottetown Gahan House Fawcetts 5-2 on Ellis field in O’Leary in the third and deciding game Friday night behind another dominant pitching performance by Mitch Hardy.
The Eagles jumped all over Fawcetts starting pitcher Steve Langley in the top of the first inning, scattering four hits and scoring four runs. Langley settled down after that and the Fawcetts actually outscored their hosts 2-1 the rest of the way. By then the damage was done.
“It was important to get off to a good start, said player-coach Jeff Ellsworth. “They have a lot of experience. . . The Fawcetts stay in ball games and they give themselves a chance to win.”
Hardy didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth. He walked Dustan Jones, who scored following a hit and an error. A Fawcetts rally in the bottom of the seventh came up short. Chris Arsenault singled and scored but that was as close as they could come.
Fawcetts’ catcher Mark Arsenault praised O’Leary.
“They’re a good team. They’re real quick; they’ve got some young guys and they’ve got two world-class players in Jeff and Mitchell, and they’ve got team speed,” he assessed.
Both Arsenault and Ellsworth were thrilled with the packed bleachers.
“Softball is coming back in P.E.I.,” Arsenault declared. “We’re building towards hosting (senior nationals) in 2014. It’s pretty exciting to see the crowd and the support we got tonight and it was fun playing those guys.”
For Ellsworth, it’s a sign of what to expect when O’Leary hosts the Eastern Canadian intermediate championships in two weeks. He anticipates more bleachers will be hauled in to accommodate the crowds. O’Leary are two-time defending Eastern Canadian champions.
Ellsworth predicted the Fawcetts, with the pitching staff of Hardy, Langley and Randy Frame from Nova Scotia will do well in Stratford.
Langley gave up just seven hits, walked two and struck out three. Hardy allowed just two hits, struck out 15 and walked three. Ellsworth put one out of the park in the first inning to score two runs. Hardy went 2-4 with a run.
Other top hitters for the Eagles were Troy Ellsworth, 1-3 with a triple; Mark Quinn, Jamie Betts and Darcy Harris, all 1-2 and Jessie MacIntyre, 1-3