CHARLOTTETOWN – The Westisle Wolverines proved seeding does not matter.
The Wolverines, despite entering the semifinals seeded fourth, played terrific fundamental baseball in winning the 2018 P.E.I. School Athletic Association (PEISAA) senior AAA championship at Memorial Field in Charlottetown on Tuesday.
The Wolverines defeated the Montague Vikings 8-1 in the final to win Westisle’s first gold medal in baseball. This was the fourth straight year Westisle advanced to the final. Third-seeded Montague returned home with the silver medal in its first year of competing in baseball.
In the semifinals, Westisle pulled out a 2-0 decision over the Three Oaks Axemen of Summerside, and the Vikings edged Hampshire’s Bluefield Bobcats 2-1.
Wolverines 8, Vikings 1
In a playoff-type atmosphere under the lights, Montague opened the scoring with a single run in the second inning, but Westisle answered with four runs in the third inning, two more in the fifth inning and a pair in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.
Westisle’s Alex McRae earned the pitching win, allowing only one run on one hit while walking seven and striking out nine. Jack MacKenzie was the losing pitcher, allowing six runs (two earned) on six hits, four walks and he struck out three. Joel MacEachern pitched one inning of relief for Montague.
Defence played a big part in the game as Montague committed six errors while the Wolverines did not commit any. In fact, Westisle made only one error in Tuesday’s two playoff games.
MacKenzie (1-3) had the only hit for Montague while Westisle’s top batters were Garrett Culleton (1-3, walk, two runs scored, RBI), Chandler DesRoches (1-3, sacrifice, run scored, RBI), Nathan Grigg (1-2, walk, run scored) and Aiden Williams (1-2, walk, run scored).
Wolverines 2, Axemen 0
The second semifinal featured a highly-anticipated matchup between the Axemen, who finished first overall in the regular season at 4-1 (won-lost), and the Wolverines (3-2). Westisle, however, handed Three Oaks its only loss – a 3-2 walk-off win in Tignish on Sept. 29.
The teams did not disappoint as both teams displayed terrific pitching and defence. Winning pitcher DesRoches threw a complete-game shutout, allowing only two hits while striking out 11 batters and walking five. Dylan McCormack took the loss, giving up two runs (one earned) over 6 1/3 innings. McCormack’s line read two hits allowed, five walks and 10 strikeouts. Ben MacDougall pitched two-thirds of an inning for Three Oaks.
Culleton (2-4, two RBIs), DesRoches (1-3, walk) and Chase Gaudette (1-3, walk) were tops at the plate for Westisle. Kalib Snow (1-2, walk) and Ethan Beaulieu (1-3, walk) had the only hits for Three Oaks.
Vikings 2, Bobcats 1
In the first semifinal, Sam MacKenzie hit an unconventional two-run bunt single in the top of the seventh inning to give the resilient third-seeded Vikings (3-2) the lead for good against the second-place Bobcats (4-1).
Winning pitcher Isaac MacNeill allowed one run on four hits, two walks and fanned six. Dylan Cameron was the hard-luck loser for Bluefield, allowing two unearned runs on three hits, four walks and he finished with nine strikeouts.
Sam MacKenzie (2-4, two RBIs) and Jack MacKenzie (1-3) had Montague’s hits while Nick Havenga (2-3, run scored), Nathan Mahar (1-3) and Jude Rist (1-3) had Bluefield’s hits.