The Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders are underdogs heading into the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League playoffs, but they aren’t conceding anything.
“We’re hoping to make some noise,” head coach Doug Hines said Friday.
The young Isles (9-23) finished last in the five-team circuit in their first year back after a leave of absence. They play the fourth-place Fredericton Royals (15-17) in the best-of-five quarter-final for the right to play the top-ranked Saint John Alpines (21-11) in the semifinal.
Game 1 goes today in Fredericton with Game 2 Sunday at 2 p.m. in Charlottetown.
Jack Beck is expected to get the start today for the visitors with Jordan Stevenson throwing Game 2 at Memorial Field.
American import Kaleb Bowman gets the ball for the Royals today while Fredericton’s other import, Ben Runyon, starts Game 2.
Hines said his squad needs to play sound ball in order to win the series.
“We need to make sure that the sure outs are outs . . . not prolonging innings,” he said. “In this league, you tend to get punished when you make errors. It’s pretty simple.”
Fredericton won six of the eight meetings this year, including sweeping a doubleheader at home on Aug. 17 to complete the regular season.
“We played them here early in the season and again the last weekend, when the standings were settled and both teams were low on bodies," Royals’ head coach Mike Lint said. "A truer indication is when we went to the Island in July for two doubleheaders and split the four games."
The home-field advantage could be key as the Royals’ home park is smaller than Memorial Field. The Royals had the league’s top three home runs hitter and six of the top 11.
“The pitchers have to keep the ball down as you have to try to keep those guys in the park,” Hines said. “You have to make good pitches there because sometimes a fly ball ends up being a home run.”
Royals slugging infielder Mike Washburn is in Ontario and will miss the entire series, Lint said. Tyler Wiwchar, Shawn Reid, Brooks Saunders and Corey Ouellette aren't available for either weekend game, and Corey Wood will miss Sunday's game.
Stevenson’s younger brother J.P. is ineligible to play for the Islanders during the playoffs because he didn’t play enough games during the regular season.
“It's unfortunate for them that he's not around but I guess beneficial for the rest of us," Lint said. "At nationals, he threw two absolute gems against a tough B.C. team."
The Islanders have called up four players from the P.E.I. Little Caesars Islanders junior squad. They are Ryne MacIsaac, Gabe Penalver, Noah Duckworth and Patrick Gallant. Coaches Dave MacIsaac and Chris McGregor will also assist Hines.
The Royals have called upon juniors Adam Estey, Sam Beaulieu, Riley Burtt and Thomas Hoyt as their affiliate players.
– With files from The Daily Gleaner.
A look at the games between the Fredericton Royals and Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders this season.
Fredericton 2 Charlottetown 0
Fredericton 11 Charlottetown 1
Fredericton 4 Charlottetown 0
Charlottetown 6 Fredericton 2
Fredericton 10 Charlottetown 7
Charlottetown 13 Fredericton 3
Fredericton 5 Charlottetown 4
Fredericton 6 Charlottetown 0