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Islanders play first game of senior baseball season today after taking year leave of absence in 2018


STRATFORD, P.E.I. —

Jake Beck remained confident the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders would be back.

He was right.

The squad makes its return to the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League today after a one-year leave of absence.

“I always was positive it was going to go,” he said before Wednesday’s practice inside the Norton Diamond Soccer Complex in Stratford. “I knew it was one year and never once thought we weren’t going to be here today.”

The team was granted the one-year leave last spring after being unable to find enough committed players to field a team. Beck said there were times during 2017 when the team was making calls to guys to see if they could get time off of work an hour before leaving for a New Brunswick road trip.

“It’s not a remedy for success in this league,” said the squad’s elder statesman.

But the team has been boosted by a committed core of young, eager players, many of whom came through the junior system. It also has a contingent of returnees from 2017 like Jordan Stevenson and Dillon Doucette and has added a couple of the Holland College Hurricanes ballplayers like Josh MacDonald and Brett Brittany to the roster.

Taylor Larkin is an outfielder with the Charlottetown Gaudet's Auto Body Islanders of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League.
Taylor Larkin is an outfielder with the Charlottetown Gaudet's Auto Body Islanders of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League.

“It’s great,” Beck said. “To know that senior baseball . . . is remaining in Charlottetown and that there’s a lot of young guys that are committed to the team. It’s really exciting for us.”

Beck, 30, is entering his 10th year in the senior league. It includes nine years with the Islanders in his hometown of Charlottetown and 2007 with the Summerside Chevys.

Beck is the lone holdover from those early days. The crafty right-handed pitcher is looking to provide some guidance to the youngsters as guys like Andrew Macdonald and Morgan Carlisle did for him starting out.

“It’s great to kind of look back and think of all the guys I’ve played with, but great to see now this year, with so many new faces, to see sort of the next generation of players coming in,” Beck said.

It wasn’t that long ago that Taylor Larkin was one of those youngsters looking to make the jump to the senior squad as a teenager.

Now the 25-year-old St. Peters Bay native is a stabilizing force, patrolling the spacious outfield grass of Memorial Field, and a veteran of a handful of senior league seasons with the Isles. He, like many of the Islanders, played in the Kings County Baseball League last season but missed playing against New Brunswick’s best.

“It’s fun going out on the road every weekend with the boys,” he said. “It’s a very competitive league. There’s nothing like it on the Island, so it’s fun going out there and trying to up your game to compete with the rest of the league.”

The Islanders are in Saint John, N.B., today for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. before returning home for a Monday matinee with the Moncton Fisher Cats at 2 p.m.

Today will also mark the debut of Doug Hines as the Isles head coach.

He is still getting to know his club but likes the mix of veterans and youth the squad possess.

“I’ve learned that they are a self-motivated bunch,” he said. “For some of the guys that have been here, having that year off, they’re anxious, they’re champing at the bit.”

He said the players have a great attitude with lots of enthusiasm.

Hines said the players have all received great coaching throughout their careers from guys like Keith Craswell, Joe Puiia, Allison Macdonald, Walter MacEwen, Dave MacIsaac, Chris McGregor, Andrew MacNevin and Jason Monaghan.

“I’m inheriting a good situation.”

The Isles won’t get much of a chance to ease into the league as they are expecting to see Andrew Case, who pitched in the Toronto Blue Jays system, today.

Darcy Affleck and Jordan Stevenson are both expected to see some time on the mound for the Isles today, but a number of arms will likely be required to get through the 21 innings in three days this early in the season.

Related links

Coach Doug Hines excited to get started with reborn Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders

Islanders putting pieces in place for return to senior baseball league

Charlottetown Gaudet's Auto Body Islanders take leave of absence from NBSBL

New Brunswick Senior Baseball League website

Islanders win NBSBL championship


Roster

A look at the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders roster for the upcoming season.

Number    Player            Positions

20     Darcy Affleck               IF/P

9       Jonathan Arsenault      IF/P

17     Jacob Beck                   P/OF

39     Brett Brittany                  OF

3       Dillon Doucette               IF

55     Ethan Francis                 P

4       Logan Gallant               IF/C

2       Grant Grady                  C/IF

12     Brett Hicken                    P

5       Taylor Larkin                OF/P

26     Jesse MacIntyre             IF

19     Charles MacLellan       P/OF

29     Nick MacPhail               IF/P

23     Joshua MacDonald       C/IF

44     Morgan Murphy              OF

27     Porter Smith                    P

7       Jordan Stevenson         P/IF

Coaching staff

1        Doug Hines                 Head coach

16      Ian (Tex) MacDonald   Assistant coach

15      Joe Puiia                      Pitching coach

Co-managers

Peter McDonald

Myles Grady

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