Sooners remain on top with win over Dartmouth
Plenty of offence in Friday night slugfest
The Sydney Sooners have struck first in the battle of the top teams in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League.
The Sooners defeated the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry 1511 on Friday evening to improve their record to 13-5 on the season, good for a game-and-a-half lead over their mainland rivals who sit second with an 11-6 record.
The first six innings of the contest, that attracted about 200 fans to the Susan McEachern Memorial Ball Park in Sydney, were routine by baseball standards, and heading into the seventh the Sooners held a 4-2 lead.
Maybe there was something in the air, the wind was certainly blowing, but the last three innings saw the two teams combine for 20 runs and when the dust cleared, the Sooners had hung on for the win.
“It was a wild game - it was one of those reckless, all offensive kind of games,” said Sooners manager Jim (Rico) McEachern, who stopped short of saying that it was a coach’s nightmare.
“Of course, I’m happy with the win - I am hoping we can come back out on Saturday and put together a couple of good games to stay ahead of Dartmouth.”
There’s no doubting Dartmouth’s ability with the bat - last year, the Dry batted their way to the regular season championship as they averaged more than seven runs per game. The 2015 season is proving no different as they once again lead the league in runs scored.
With both teams circling the bases late in the game, it was a Jordan Shepherd grand slam home run in the seventh inning that made the difference. The leftfielder also had two singles and ended up with six RBI.
Corey Christie, Justin Brewer and Jeff MacKinnon were also key contributors at the plate for the Sydney squad.
The best Dartmouth batter was Cape Breton native Chris Head, whom McEachern has invited to join the Sooners at next month’s Canadian senior men’s baseball championships in New Brunswick.
Reilly O’Rourke picked up the win for the Sooners after coming on in relief of Anthony Iannetti. Jason Mosher was tagged with the loss.
The two teams resume the three-game series with a Saturday doubleheader that kicks off at 12 noon.
Prior to the first pitch, the Sooners will honour the 1959 New Waterford Giants, the first Cape Breton team to win a national senior men’s baseball title. The team was inducted into the newly established Maritime Sport Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Sooners leftfielder Jordan Shepherd, left, pulls up short of Chris Farrow after being waved off by the shortstop, who caught the pop fly, during Friday’s game between Sydney and Dartmouth at the Susan McEachern Memorial Ball Park.