Mosquito AAA baseball provincials will take place Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Summerside
The Charlottetown Royals are 2-0 in their quest to get to the mosquito AAA baseball provincials.
Tanner Maclean got the win as the Royals beat Sherwood 12-1 Tuesday, while Matt Power recorded the victory as Charlottetown defeated Summerside 15-2 Thursday.
Baseball P.E.I. is testing a new round-robin format with six teams vying for the four spots at provincials, which will take place Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Summerside.
The Royals have five returning players from last year’s provincial championship team that earned silver medals at Atlantics. They are Tobias Hood, Power, MacLean, Keegan Duffy and Jack Clark.
This year’s team, coached by Kevin MacLean, Jason MacDonald and Jeff Squires, finished first in the regular season with a 15-3 record and is hoping to get back to the Atlantic championship, being hosted by Richmond from Sept. 13 to 15.
Earlier this summer the team lost an eight-inning, one-run decision to Fredericton in the semifinal of the Fiddler MacDonald Memorial Tournament.
Charlottetown beat Halifax 8-1 in the quarter-final behind a no-hit performance by MacLean. Halifax was 3-0 after the round robin.
The New York Yankees, despite the loss of Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez for most of the season, are getting back into the American League pennant race at the expense of the sad-sack Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees swept the Jays this week and are now five losses behind the Red Sox, who have managed to stay in first place despite playing less than .500 baseball during the past three weeks. Tampa Bay is a game behind, but with fewer losses than the BoSox, while the Baltimore Orioles are third and have blown a big chance to make up ground on the two AL East frontrunners. The Yankees face Baltimore in a crucial series this week.
The Jays are now without Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista, their starting outfield, and the call-ups have been less than impressive. Left-fielder Kevin Pillar and hot prospect Anthony Gose have struggled at the plate suggesting the farm system is devoid of immediate help.
Cabrera and Rasmus have been out for quite some time while Bautista should still be playing. He apparently injured himself Tuesday afternoon against the Yankees chasing down a ball that was 50 feet into the bleachers. Had he not been hot-dogging, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Perhaps Jose sees the writing on the wall that this team is going to finish dead last and wants to take a long holiday. Can’t blame him, the Jays are as fundamentally sound as the Bad News Bears.
Boy genius, general manager Alex Anthopoulos, had better wake up and replace John Gibbons before he too goes down with the ship. Gibbons is as sharp as a P.E.I. potato and the other night against the Yankees he made another boneheaded decision. He replaced starter Mark Buehrle with another lefty Brett Cecil, his ace out of the bullpen. He took his best pitcher out of the pen for one hitter when the starter had plenty left. Oh well, the season will be over soon.
Closer to home
On the local front, the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders meet the Moncton Mets in a best-of-five New Brunswick league playoffs beginning Thursday, Aug. 29 in Moncton. The Islanders first playoff home game is a week from today, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. at Memorial Field.
The New Brunswick league takes a break as Fredericton and Chatham are participating in the national senior men’s tournament in Windsor, Ont. Islanders’ shortstop Andrew Macdonald is with Fredericton while pitchers Jacob Beck and Jordan Stevenson and second baseman Dillon Doucette play with Chatham.
Congratulations to Peakes native Doucette on leading the national junior men’s tournament in hitting with a .611 average, going 11-for-18 at the recent tournament in Dartmouth, N.S. The Island club was a respectable 1-4, losing three one-run games.
The Canada Games baseball team did not play as well in going winless (0-6) at the Sherbrooke tournament. I can’t comment on how they played because I did not see them play. However, when P.E.I. hosted the Games in 2009, I watched the team play and I felt sorry for the players. They had no idea of where they were supposed to be positioned or what they were supposed to be doing. One thing is certain, we will be better someday.
Cornwall shortstop Dylan McKenna may not be as well known as some Island baseball players, but he could be. By all reports, McKenna played well at the national juniors and the fact that a number of juniors have played with the senior Islanders has helped them develop more quickly.
I’ve watched McKenna all summer with the Islanders and, although he doesn’t get much of a chance to play his regular middle infield position with Andrew Macdonald at short, he is a great looking young player. He has a very quick bat, strong throwing arm, fast, and a player on the move upwards. He even looks like a ball player.
The Charlottetown Islanders have been surprising people already and the season hasn’t yet started. Despite the fact they’ve lost Josh Currie and Ben Duffy to graduation, the Islanders traded away reliable scorers Louis Marcotte (27-27) and Victor Provencher (24-25) and offensive defenceman Jimmy Oligny (13-29), who ate up a lot of minutes especially on the power play. They added former first round pick and local boy Kameron Kielly, 16, and he could be a real good one. Islanders GM Grant Sonier and head coach Gord Dwyer must like what they see in training camp.
The Gold Cup and Saucer is now history and what a terrific week it was, solidifying P.E.I. and Old Home Week as one of the great events on the North American harness racing calendar.
The Gold Cup and Saucer was a tremendous race and how about red-hot Marc Campbell, who drove flawlessly all week. It could not have happened to a better guy. And let’s not forget prominent owner Peter Smith, who celebrated his 49th birthday in grand style as Touch of Lightning, a horse he co-owns with brother Don, Larry Chappell and Gerald Morrissey, scored in 1:53 flat, the fastest mile ever at the CDP by a Maritime-bred horse.
Local harness racing continues tonight with another top-notch 12-dash card. The $2,400 Race 12 feature is a great one with horses like Touch of Lightning, Big League, Proven Lover, Wild Dragon, J V S Ring, All Turain, Cambest Kisser and Greatheart Hanover.
Last week at Saratoga, Bolt the Duer won the $275,000 invitational for driver Mark MacDonald, setting a new world record for the fastest mile ever paced at night over a half-mile track in 1:49 flat. The time equals the mark set by Ponder and Jett Laag during Light Brown Jug week at Delaware, Ohio.
Bolt goes tonight in one of two Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations at Mohawk while Warrawee Needy goes in the other. The card also has the eliminations for the Metro Pace and the elims for She’s a Great Lady.
At Georgian Downs tonight, two divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes each at $105,000 for trotting three-year-old fillies headline the card. Watch the Rhythm (Anthony MacDonald) and Motown Muscle (Mario Baillargeon) are the favourites in the first division while Angies Lucky Star (Trevor Henry), Dance Hall Wendy (James MacDonald) and Seeyouinthespring (Anthony MacDonald) are among the toughest in the second grouping.
Dr. Ian Moore’s top two-year-olds Arthur Blue Chip (Shadow Play) and Play It Again Sam (Shadow Play) are co-favourites in tonight‘s Metro elims at Mohawk.
Fred MacDonald’s column appears in The Guardian each Saturday. He can be reached at email@example.com.