Team Nova Scotia was solidly in the hunt August 6 at the Canadian Junior fastpitch championships, being played at the St. Croix recreation complex.
The Murphy’s Fish & Chips Eagles were in third place overall, with a 6-2 record entering their final round robin game at the tournament, disrupted by heavy rains both August 4 and 5.
The top eight teams through the round robin made the playoffs, with the top four teams having to be beaten twice in the playoff round. Their 13-3 win over Quebec August 6 earned Nova Scotia a spot in the final four.
As Nova Scotia pitcher Justin Schofield of White Rock pointed out early in the action, “a top four finish has been our goal all along.”
Nova Scotia, an all-star team made up of the best Junior-aged players in the province, opened with an 8-1 loss to the Sooke Smoke from B.C. in the tournament opener August 2.
That evening, Nova Scotia scored its first win with an 11-3 thumping of the defending champs from Newfoundland and Labrador. Winning pitcher Donnelly Archibald helped his own cause with a home run, and Cory Avery contributed a three-run homer.
In their third game August 3, Nova Scotia dropped to 1-2 with a 5-2 loss to Owen Sound, ON. Justin Schofield pitched four innings of scoreless relief, but his teammates were unable to overcome an early deficit.
Nova Scotia then reeled off four straight lopsided wins: 8-0 over Saskatchewan 2, 8-1 over Saskatchewan 1, 7-0 over Linwood, ON and 8-1 over Selkirk, ON to improve to 5-2.
In the win over Saskatchewan 2, Avery earned his second pitching win, supported by home runs from Zack Sill, Blake Hunter and Trevor Whynot.
Against Saskatchewan 1, Sill, having a great tournament, had two homers; Avery had one in support of winning pitcher Archibald.
Against Linwood, Nova Scotia got solid pitching from Tyson Barkman and home runs from Trevor Boutilier and Hunter, whose homer leading off the bottom of the sixth inning ended the game.
Against Selkirk, Barkman and Schofield combined on a two-hitter, and Archibald, Boutilier and Jay Duffy had home runs.
Nova Scotia had two games postponed August 4 due to the rain, and was supposed to play four games August 5 - the fourth of which was scheduled for 11 p.m. However, the evening game against Quebec was suspended with no score in the bottom of the first inning. When the game resumed August 6, Nova Scotia used a nine-run third inning to romp to a 13-3 win. Tyler Whynot, Patrick Avery and Archibald all hit home runs in support of Avery, who combined with Schofield for a six-hitter.
Nova Scotia’s final round robin game that afternoon against Napanee, ON. The playoffs were set to begin later August 6 and continue August 7, with the championship game August 8.