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Stratford A’s ready to battle

Shortstop Alex MacEachern, left, and third baseman Nick Steele of the host Stratford A’s are ready to welcome the baseball teams from three provinces for the Baseball Atlantic midget AA championship today through Sunday at MacNeill Field in Stratford. Games are also slated for Memorial Field in Charlottetown.
Shortstop Alex MacEachern, left, and third baseman Nick Steele of the host Stratford A’s are ready to welcome the baseball teams from three provinces for the Baseball Atlantic midget AA championship today through Sunday at MacNeill Field in Stratford. Games are also slated for Memorial Field in Charlottetown.

STRATFORD, P.E.I. – Nick Steele and Parker Day of the Stratford A’s know what they’re getting into hosting the Baseball Atlantic midget AA championship this weekend, but it doesn’t mean the team is backing down.

“We battled all season, had some good coaching. If we play the way we’re capable of, we can stay with any team out there,” said Day, who’s in his third year with the A’s. “Definitely the strength of our team is pitching . . . and fielding. Whenever we’re fielding (well) we win, (but) we’ve got make the plays.”

Games go at MacNeill Field in Stratford and Memorial Field in Charlottetown. Stratford opens the tournament versus the Summerside One Chevys today at 11 a.m. at MacNeill Field.

The host A’s went 5-8-1 in the regular season, fifth in the seven-team league, and 0-4 in the provincial championship.

The Chevys (10-4-1 regular season) won the P.E.I. title and are the Island rep.

RELATED: Click here for a story on the Chevys.

Joining the Island squads are the Strait Area Sting (Nova Scotia), the Fredericton Royals (New Brunswick) and St. John’s Capitals (Newfoundland and Labrador).

Steele, a second-year third baseman, agrees with Day on the team’s best trait. But it’s a different story at the plate where Steele admits the A’s will need solid hitting during the weekend.

“We can play some good ball sometimes. We need to get the bats going, keep our eyes on the ball and generate runs,” said Steele. “We need to stay in the batter’s box, get comfortable and get ourselves ready.”

Blaine Morrison, the A’s head coach, and Joe Carroll, president of the Stratford Minor Baseball Association, wanted Stratford to host this season – the tourney rotates yearly through the four Atlantic provinces – so the organization put a bid together and won.

Now the dirt hits the cleats.

But Morrison is aware his middling club can hold its own as it has six third-year players and several second-years and picked up Cardigan Clippers catcher Liam Laybolt.

“(This season) we beat the best teams and lost to the worst teams. But we’ll work on our strengths, play small ball. We’re a team that has to manufacture runs and pitching has to be on to win games,” said Morrison.

Morrison said the A’s will rely on veterans Bret Cheverie and Day, second years like Steele and Noah Morrison and rookie pitcher Ryan Carroll.

When They Play

Schedule for the Baseball Atlantic midget AA championship today through Sunday in Stratford and Charlottetown.

Teams – Summerside One Chevys (P.E.I.), Strait Area Sting (Nova Scotia), Fredericton Royals (New Brunswick), St. John’s Capitals (Newfoundland and Labrador), Stratford A’s (host).

TODAY

(at MacNeill Field)

11 a.m. – Stratford vs. Summerside One.

2 p.m. – St. John’s vs. Stratford.

5 p.m. – Strait Area vs. St. John’s.

(at Memorial Field)

11 a.m. – Fredericton vs. Strait Area.

2 p.m. – Fredericton vs. Summerside One.

SATURDAY

(at MacNeill Field)

10 a.m. – Stratford vs. Fredericton.

1 p.m. – Strait Area vs. Stratford.

4 p.m. – Summerside One vs. St. John’s.

(at Memorial Field)

10 a.m. – Summerside One vs. Strait Area.

7 p.m. – St. John’s vs. Fredericton.

SUNDAY

(at MacNeill Field)

11:30 a.m. – Tiebreaker or championship game.

2:30 p.m. – Championship game (if 11:30 a.m. game is a tiebreaker).

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