Rookie ex­pe­ri­ence

Ni­chol­son fac­ing sea­soned hit­ters in se­nior base­ball this sum­mer

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­post.com On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

This sum­mer has been a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Syd­ney Soon­ers rookie left-han­der Gar­rett Ni­chol­son, who’s pre­par­ing to pitch in univer­sity this fall.

The 18-year-old from Syd­ney Mines will leave Aug. 18 for school and won’t fin­ish the sea­son with the Nova Sco­tia Se­nior Base­ball League squad, but says he’s taken a lot from his first sum­mer on the cir­cuit, play­ing against more sea­soned hit­ters.

“I re­ally en­joyed it. It was good to come home for the sum­mer, come home for two months and it was my first time play­ing in Cape Bre­ton in the last four years,” said the 6-4 hurler. “To come home and play again is pretty fun.”

The 6-4 south­paw re­cently grad­u­ated from Vaux­hall Base­ball Academy in Vaux­hall, Alta., a town of about 1,100 peo­ple lo­cated between Cal­gary and Leth­bridge. In the fall, he’ll pitch for the Cen­tral Michi­gan Univer­sity Chippewa, an NCAA Di­vi­sion 1 school lo­cated in Mount Pleas­ant, Mich.

“I learned a few things,” said Ni­chol­son, who said he’s been work­ing with Soon­ers im­port pitcher Devin Ma­honey of Pi­nole, Calif., who grad­u­ated from Saint Louis Univer­sity in the spring.

“He’s been teach­ing me a few things about univer­sity, col­lege ball down there to help me pre­pare for when I get down there, and learn­ing from th­ese guys who’ve been play­ing in the league a few years now, telling me to stay re­laxed and pitch like I can. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Ni­chol­son, a prod­uct of Syd­ney Mines and Dis­trict Lit­tle League, was also a mem­ber of Base­ball Canada’s ju­nior na­tional team (ages 15-18). He also took part in the Blue Jays Tour­na­ment 12 held at the Rogers Cen­tre in Toronto two years in a row.

He’ll suit up for the first-place

Soon­ers (14-4) this week­end when they host the fourth­place Kentville Wild­cats (5-14) at Su­san McEach­ern Memo­rial Ball Park. The teams play Friday at 7 p.m. and Satur­day at 1 p.m.

“There are some great play­ers on this team and to come in with a win­ning team and be able to con­trib­ute and help them stay on top, I’ve re­ally en­joyed it,” said Ni­chol­son, who’s car­ried out mostly re­lief work this sum­mer.

Syd­ney is look­ing to re­bound from its first se­ries loss of the sea­son. The Soon­ers dropped two of three games to the third­place Dart­mouth Moose­head Dry at Bea­z­ley Field last week­end.

“We make no bones about it: we’ve been chas­ing the top since the start of the year,” said Soon­ers man­ager Jim (Rico) McEach­ern. “I think we’ve been in first place for pretty well the whole sea­son and I want to stay there. If we’re go­ing to stay there, with 10 games re­main­ing, we need (to win) seven, pos­si­bly eight of those.

“I know Kentville is fight­ing for a play­off spot with Truro right now, so they’ll be look­ing for every win they can get. It won’t be an easy task by any means, but this will be a good chance for us to get back on track.”

T.J. COLELLO/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Rookie left-han­der Gar­rett Ni­chol­son of Syd­ney Mines has earned plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence in his first sum­mer in the Nova Sco­tia Se­nior Base­ball League. The 18-year-old will pitch at Cen­tral Michi­gan Univer­sity in the fall.

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