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Jordan Stevenson throws gem on short rest as season comes to an end for New Brunswick Senior Baseball League squad
The Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders’ season is over.
The Fredericton Royals defeated the Isles 2-1 in a pitchers’ duel Wednesday at Memorial Field to win the best-of-five New Brunswick Senior Baseball League quarter-final 3-1. The Royals will play the Saint John Alpines in the best-of-seven semifinal while the Moncton Fisher Cats and Chatham Ironmen meet in the other series.
Corey Kavanagh said it was crucial for the Royals to win Game 4 and not have to face a winner-take-all Game 5 on Friday. The teams played four games in five days while the league’s other three teams awaited the outcome of the series.
“It really takes a toll on your body, so being able to get it done tonight gives us a good little rest going into Saint John,” the catcher said.
The Royals opened the scoring in the second inning when Corey Wood walked and scored on MacKenzie Washburn’s two-out single to left off Islanders’ ace Jordan Stevenson.
Charlottetown responded in the third when Taylor Larkin led off the inning with a walk and scored on Grant Grady’s sacrifice fly.
Fredericton quickly retook the lead for good.
Wood led off the fourth with a single, stole second and went to third when catcher Logan Gallant’s throw went into centre field. Wood scored the game-winning run on Kavanagh’s sacrifice fly to centre.
“We only had three hits, so any runner you can get on base is huge,” Kavanagh said. “Even though we didn't hit (tonight), we did the things we needed to do in order to win.”
The Isles had their chances but were unable to capitalize on them.
Kody Matthews and Gallant hit back-to-back singles to start the second but Nick MacPhail hit a fly ball to centre with Matthews trying to steal third, leading to a double play. There were also a couple hard hit balls that seemed to get caught up in the wind blowing in, including one by Dillon Doucette to the warning track in centre field.
“We hit some rockets,” Islanders’ head coach Doug Hines said. “That’s just the way it goes.”
Stevenson allowed two runs on three singles and two walks while striking out nine. It was his second complete game of the series after winning Game 2 on Sunday.
“He messaged me and said, ‘I want the ball’. A guy like him, you just give it to him,” Hines said. “He threw great. . . he’s just a horse. He’s one of the studs in this league for sure.”
Gallant, who led the Isles with two singles, said the team played well but came out on the wrong side on the scoreboard.
“Sometimes the baseball gods aren’t on your side, but you can’t knock the boys. We battled hard right to the end. We were in it the whole game. Hats off to Jo-jo. Not just tonight, but the whole season, Jordan has been our horse all year,” he said. “He came up big tonight for us and it sucks we weren’t able to pull through.”
Brooks Saunders allowed five singles and two walks while striking out four for the victory.
“He threw strikes everywhere,” Kavanagh said. “Curveball, changeup, fastball, it didn’t matter what it was, he was just on point tonight.”
Colby Lyle had the Royals’ other single. MacPhail and Grady each added one for the Islanders.