Seventh inning costly for P.E.I. juniors

Jason Malloy
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Island baseball team missed opportunities to cash runs

The Metro Mudcats scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to end the P.E.I. Carpenter's Union Juniors season Tuesday in Charlottetown.

The Mudcats advanced to the second round of the New Brunswick Junior Baseball League playoffs with a 5-2 victory at Memorial Field to take the best-of-three series 2-0.

“We hung with them,” coach David McQuaid said. “We got off to a rough start in the seventh and we just couldn’t recoup.”

With the game tied 1-1 to start the seventh, Mitch Hazlett hit a one-out ground ball that bounced high and off the glove of first baseman Nick MacPhail.

A passed ball put Hazlett on third with one out and Scott Arsenault hit a fly ball to left. Hazlett tagged and narrowly beat the throw from Denver MacKenzie, who has missed a number of games this season with a sore shoulder, to the plate to give the visitors the go-ahead run.

“We know it hurt him, but he put everything he could into that throw and made it a close play at the plate and that’s all we could ask for,” McQuaid said.

Metro tagged on three more runs on four consecutive singles to take a 5-1 lead.

P.E.I. started the seventh with back-to-back singles by Nathan McInnis and J.J. Oram. Metro starter Kyle Donovan got the next two batters before walking two to bring the tying run to the plate.

Markus Coates replaced Donovan and struck out Grant Grady to end the game two hours after it started.

“We finally got the bats going in the bottom of the seventh and just fell a hit or two short,” McQuaid said. “They dug down deep. There’s no quit. They want to win. They’ll be back bigger and better next year.”

Oram, who turned in a couple of strong defensive plays at shortstop, said the team didn’t swing the bats well enough to win.

“The pitchers threw well, but we didn’t come through,” said the Summerside native, who had two singles.

The Island opened the scoring in the first inning on an RBI single by Dylan McQuaid to drive in Oram. Starter Tyson Blue retired the first nine hitters he faced before Moncton tied it in the fourth.

P.E.I. threatened in the fifth with two-out rally started by an Oram single. He stole second and third and Brody McQuaid walked.

MacPhail squared up a pitch that Donavon snared and tossed to first to end the inning.

The Island team had two runners on in the sixth with two outs, but could not cash.

“It’s kind of been the story of our year,” the coach said. “We’ve hit all year, but kind of struggled a little bit with runners in scoring position.”

Many of the juniors will play at the junior nationals next month, while others will play with the senior Islanders, midget or in the Kings County Baseball League.

Dylan McQuaid is the only graduate among the 16-player roster while 12 were in their first years.

Organizations: Metro inc., Union Juniors, New Brunswick Junior Baseball League Kings County Baseball League

Geographic location: P.E.I. Carpenter, Charlottetown, Summerside Moncton

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