Baseball Islanders roster taking shape

Charles Reid
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Charlottetown will have a few more additions today for home-opener with Chatham

Well, things are 50-50 for the Charlottetown Gaudet's Auto Body Islanders as the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League squad readies itself for today’s doubleheader against the Chatham Ironmen.

Game 1 start time is 2 p.m. at Memorial Field versus the defending league champion and Dylan McKenna of the Islanders (1-1) knows facing the stout Ironmen (1-0) means they must be on the ball.

“Just play good baseball . . . and pitch well,” said McKenna, who’s seeing his first action this season after missing the opening games last weekend in Saint John, N.B. “Personally, don’t make many mental errors and play good defence. We should be alright.”

McKenna, in his second year of senior ball, is slated for third base and shortstop at least to start the season. The Cornwall native returned earlier this week from Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, Alta.

Shortstop should also be manned by Jordan Duffy, who’s in the lineup for the first time, too. He graduated from school in Maine last weekend.

The shifts have been forced on the Islanders by an knee injury to usual shortstop Andrew Macdonald. He’s out indefinitely after recent knee surgery and will coach third base when the Islanders are batting.

Second baseman Dillon Doucette, returning from Newfoundland to play this weekend, and Jeremy MacKinnon at first base, also out last week because of graduation, should complete Charlottetown’s infield for today's home opener.

That might change in Game 2 and it could see newcomer/old hat Mark MacLean at first. He’s also a left-handed pitcher and designated hitter and the 29-year-old should help deepen the bullpen.

Although after eight years away from the field, the former junior player said he isn’t quite back to form yet and points to his outing last weekend against the Alpines. He threw two-thirds of a inning, giving up four runs, walking three and striking out one while being tagged with loss.

“It wasn't a good performance,” said MacLean, who lives in Winsloe.

At least the bats were on last weekend in Saint John. Charlottetown lost the first game 10-9, but won the second 9-6 in 11 innings. MacLean did his part, going 2-for-7 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a double in two games. As the Islanders banged out 17 hits, overcame seven errors, and scored the last six runs in the Game 2 victory. It’s a trend MacLean’s hoping continues for him and the team, minus the bobbles.

“I think the biggest surprise was the offence. I think we have to put the ball in play and the more pitches we can make (opposing pitchers) throw (the better). Bullpens are not that deep in this league,” he said. “We have to be prepared for anything on the field. Cut back on the errors and hit the ball.”

Jordan Stevenson (0-0, 7.00 ERA) gets the pitching start in Game 1 while Jake Beck (0-0, 14.00 ERA) is pencilled in as the Game 2 starter.

Organizations: Islanders, Game 2, New Brunswick Senior Baseball League Prairie Baseball Academy

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Saint John, Cornwall Lethbridge Maine Newfoundland Winsloe

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