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UPDATED: P.E.I. finishes on winning note

SUMMERSIDE – Team P.E.I. completed play in the 2017 Ray Carter Cup on a winning note.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Duncan Picketts hit a hard ground ball that Alberta shortstop Dryden House made an outstanding play diving to his left to keep the ball in the infield, but Garrett Culleton was able to beat the throw home to give P.E.I. an 8-7 win in the seventh-place game of Baseball Canada’s national 15-under championship.  
“It was great to finish on a winning note,” said P.E.I. head coach Kevin MacLean in a post-game interview with the Journal Pioneer. “The boys, after Thursday’s 0-2 (won-lost) start, could have folded, but we ended up 2-3.
“I give a lot of credit to this young team to come back after a very tough first day.”
After losing 7-3 to British Columbia and 14-3 to New Brunswick on Thursday, the Island squad bounced back to rally with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 walk-off win against Ontario on Friday night. P.E.I. dropped an 11-1 decision to Quebec in its round-robin finale on Saturday.
“We tried to recalibrate and make sure we had a good game to cap the tournament off (Sunday),” said MacLean, who described it as an “up-and-down tournament” for P.E.I.
Carter McNeill, who worked five innings in relief of starter Nolan Ryan, earned the pitching win at Queen Elizabeth Park’s Legends Field. Landon Clow (3-4, three runs scored, RBI) and Culleton (2-4, two runs scored, RBI) were P.E.I.’s top batters.
“We had a great outing from Carter MacNeil in relief, and had some timely hitting,” added MacLean.
P.E.I. jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after two innings, but Alberta took a 7-6 lead in the top of the sixth inning. P.E.I. answered back to tie the game in the bottom half of the sixth.
Overall, MacLean described this year’s national championship as “a great learning experience” for a young P.E.I. team.
“We look to have a very strong one next year,” added MacLean.

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