St. F.X. Base­ball Club im­proves in 2018

The Casket - - Sports - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­

Although they didn’t fin­ish where they wanted to at the end of this year, the St. F.X. Base­ball Club has come leaps and bounds from the pre­vi­ous sea­son, and coach Matt Hazel is look­ing for­ward to the con­tin­ued growth of the team.

"The sea­son is fin­ished now but our plans are big for next year, be­cause this is the first year we’ve ac­tu­ally made a state­ment in the league, that our pro­gram has de­vel­oped," said Hazel.

Hazel said St. F.X. is be­com­ing a pres­ence to be reck­oned with in the league, which con­sists of six teams; Aca­dia Uni­ver­sity, Dal­housie, Saint Mary’s Uni­ver­sity (SMU), Uni­ver­sity of New Brunswick and Hol­land Col­lege.

"Be­fore, we had a very dif­fi­cult time win­ning any games but this year, we were com­pet­i­tive in ev­ery sin­gle game we played."

St. F.X. was elim­i­nated in the play­offs Satur­day by Saint Mary’s in a best-of-three series.

"The team with the best record had home field ad­van­tage, so we hosted two games of the series. If nec­es­sary, we would have gone to SMU, but they beat us in the first two games, so the third game was not nec­es­sary," Hazel said.

St. F.X. started the first game strongly scor­ing two runs the first in­ning, "but we couldn’t bring it to­gether to score runs. There were odd ones here and there, but you need sev­eral in a row to push runs across the plate."

In the first game, both teams were close, "right up un­til the fifth or sixth in­ning, and that was when it kind of fell apart. SMU scored a bunch of runs," Hazel noted.

SMU ‘mer­cied’ St. F.X. in the first game with a ten-run lead, re­sult­ing in an 11-1 loss for St. F.X.

The sec­ond game was closer – un­til the sixth in­ning, when SMU scored a pair of runs that pushed them ahead. That match re­sulted in a 5-3 loss for St. F.X.

"We were tied in the sec­ond game for the first four or five in­nings, and they scored that two that we just couldn’t an­swer," Hazel said.

Hazel em­pha­sized how the close con­tention for a lead in the early in­nings of both games are ev­i­dence of the strength­en­ing team, since "all of this sea­son, we had re­li­able pitch­ing. This has been the best year we’ve had for four years."

"We went from a record of 0-16 and not win­ning a game, to this sea­son, where we won six games and could have won 10," Hazel said.

This year, Hazel said the team had many new, young ta­lented play­ers on its ros­ter, a lot of strong bat­ters, a solid de­fen­sive pres­ence on the field, and "top to bot­tom, a good, con­sis­tent lineup. It’s a mat­ter of putting ev­ery­thing to­gether."

That lineup earned St. F.X. ac­co­lades from the other teams in the league, not­ing the much stronger com­pe­ti­tion from St. F.X.’S ball play­ers mak­ing them work much harder for their wins than in pre­vi­ous years.

"We know we can im­prove if we build on the show­ing this year, and we can be one of the top teams, if not the top team, next year."

Sam Mac­don­ald

Kieran Macgilli­vary of the St. F.X. X-men strokes a hit dur­ing a game against Saint Mary’s Uni­ver­sity on the af­ter­noon of Oct. 13.

Sam Mac­don­ald

Ethan Maccal­lum, one of St. F.X.’S starters, winds up for a pitch on Satur­day af­ter­noon, early in a game against SMU.

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