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Island baseball fans will have their first chance to see the new-look Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders tonight at Memorial Field.
The Islanders (5-10) host the Moncton Fisher Cats (5-8) at 7:30 p.m. in New Brunswick Senior Baseball League action.
American infielder Kody Matthews made his debut June 30 on the road against Chatham while import outfielder/pitcher Jack Kraft is expected to be in the lineup tonight. They are likely to be placed near slugger Dillon Doucette in the batting order.
“All of a sudden the heart of your order is going to be pretty strong,” head coach Doug Hines said Monday. “It’s just nice to be able to show what we really have here.”
Matthews went 1-for-4 with two walks in his first two games and has already been noted for his work with his young teammates, many of who are playing senior for the first time this season.
The additions are expected to make the Islanders a deeper team, giving the bench boss more options in terms of pinch hitting, pinch running and late-inning defensive replacements.
“It’s nice to go and have a really good lineup and look at your bench and have three or four guys that can jump in,” Hines said. “That's a good feeling.”
The Fisher Cats won the first two meetings with the Islanders, each by 5-0 scores, while Charlottetown took the last meeting 1-0 on June 25 in Charlottetown.
Jordan Stevenson (3-3), who defeated Moncton in the last meeting, gets the ball tonight for the Islanders. He has a 1.66 earned-run average in 38 innings through six games.
Jonathan Arsenault continues to lead the Islanders in average at .381, followed by Grant Grady (.300), Josh McDonald (.280) and Logan Gallant (.250). Darcy Affleck has driven in a team-leading four runs and has the lone long bomb of the season.
Moncton has won two of its past three games, including a 3-1 victory Sunday over league-leading Saint John when Justin Cormier threw a complete game for the victory.
Lance VanNoy leads the Fisher Cats offence with a .382 average while Blake Flinn (.381), Sam Lund (.364) and Shawn Bartley (.333) are all hitting better than .300. Steven Johnson is a big run-producer for the squad with team highs of two home runs and 10 RBI. Marcus Coates and Tyler Walchuck are second with five RBI.
The Islanders are in Saint John, N.B., Saturday for a doubleheader with the Alpines.