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Eastern defeats Mid-Isle in first all-Island final at Fiddler baseball tournament


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Eastern Express rode a strong start to victory Sunday in the championship game of the Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald Memorial Mosquito AAA Baseball Tournament.

The Express scored three runs in the top of the first inning, added a deuce in the second and single in the third before tagging on one in the sixth en route to a 7-1 win over the Mid-Isle Mustangs.

“We knew coming here that the Island teams were strong . . . and most of the best teams from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were going to be here,” Express head coach Eddie Curran said. “It’s a great test for our young guys and they played exceptionally well.”

Mid-Isle Mustangs catcher Calen Ellsworth tags out Declan MacLauchlan of the Eastern Express during the sixth inning of the championship game of the Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald Memorial Mosquito AAA Baseball Tournament. Centre-fielder Drew Watts threw a strike to MacLauchlan on the play.
Mid-Isle Mustangs catcher Calen Ellsworth tags out Declan MacLauchlan of the Eastern Express during the sixth inning of the championship game of the Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald Memorial Mosquito AAA Baseball Tournament. Centre-fielder Drew Watts threw a strike to MacLauchlan on the play.

Colin Proud, who was named the championship game’s top hitter, got the Express’ offence going in the first inning with a one-out single. He stole second and scored on Evan Mabey’s RBI single. Mabey scored on Brennan Doyle’s RBI single and Doyle later counted to make it 3-0 before the Mustangs came to the plate.

Gabe Wolfe hit a leadoff double and scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 3-1.

Aiden MacLean and Luke Cusack hit back-to-back singles to start the top of the second and both came around to score to boost the lead to 5-1.

Express pitcher Alex Curran, who was named the tournament MVP, kept the Mustangs off the scoreboard for the next two-plus innings before being removed due to the pitch count.

“We were just hoping he could give us three or four good innings and get us a lead and that’s what he did,” Eddie said. “He always throws strikes and I know I can count on him to keep us in the ball game.”

Lincoln Kennedy went the distance to close it out, but not without some controversy on the final play.

With one out in the sixth inning, Wolfe hit a ground ball to shortstop Curran, who touched second base and threw to first to try and complete the double play. It initially appeared like the Express had recorded the final out, but Mabey’s foot came off first base.

There was a bit of confusion as some Express players went to celebrate the championship only to learn the play was live. Wolfe was caught between first and second base and as he tried to get to second was called out for being off the base-line.

Mustangs head coach Scott Ellsworth said he was proud of how his team played all weekend but couldn’t recover after falling behind in the championship game.

“They got off to a better start. That's the way it is in mosquito sometimes. You get behind early and you have trouble getting back in,” he said. “We just couldn't get any bounces or breaks to get us right back in the game.”

There is a mutual respect between the teams. They have now played four times with each squad winning twice.

“We’re very even,” Curran said. “I think these two teams have a very good chance of meeting in the provincial final.”

Ellsworth said there’s not much separating the two squads.

“It’s usually pretty close games,” he said. “I know the score was 7-1 today but I don't think it was a 7-1 game.”

The provincials are a little more than a month away with the Atlantics the following weekend in Fredericton, N.B.

The Express has won the mosquito AAA Atlantics the past two years but started this season with only four returning players.

“Now the other guys are getting confidence,” Curran said. “A tournament like this really brings their experience level along. . . Now these guys know they can play with anybody in Atlantic Canada and they’re not going to take a back seat to anybody.”

The Express went 3-0-1 in round-robin play and defeated Truro, N.S., 13-12 in seven innings in the semifinal. The Bearcats scored seven runs in the sixth inning to force extra innings.

“It builds character,” Curran said. “That was a game that these kids will remember forever.”

The Mustangs defeated Summerside 12-4 in the other semifinal.

Related links:

    • Photos from Saturday's action.

    • Fiddler's facts column


Need to know

A look at Sunday’s final of the Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald Memorial Mosquito AAA Baseball Tournament.

Linescore

Eastern            3 2 1    0 0 1    —        7

Mid-Isle           1 0 0    0 0 0    —        1

Statistics

Eastern

WP – Alex Curran, 1 run on 2 hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three. Lincoln Kennedy, 0 runs on 2 hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief. He struck out 2.

Top batters – Colin Proud, 3-for-3, 3 singles, 3 runs and a stolen base; Evan Mabey, a single, an RBI and a run; Brennan Doyle, a single, an RBI and a run; Ryan Doyle, a single and a stolen base; Aiden MacLean, a single and a run; Luke Cusack, a single and a run; Lincoln Kennedy, a single; Landon MacDonald, sacrifice fly; and Declan MacLauchlan, a single.

Mid-Isle

LP – Gabe Wolfe, seven runs on 10 hits in six innings.

Top batters – Gabe Wolfe, a double, a walk and a run; Rylan MacPhail, a double, Hunter Crozier and Jax Smallman each had a single while Liam Arsenault and Devon Doucette each had a walk and Ethan O’Connor a stolen base.

Did you know – Sunday was the first time there was an all-Island final in the tournament’s 15-year history. “I am kind of surprised to hear that because I know there has been some good Island teams in the past. I am shocked actually,” said Mid-Isle head coach Scott Ellsworth.

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