Long ball heart­break for Astros

Bay Roberts school de­nied chance at third con­sec­u­tive pro­vin­cial ti­tle

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The boys’ AAAA high school soft­ball cham­pi­onship was one for the ages.

The two-time de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros of Bay Roberts met the Queen El­iz­a­beth Pioneers of Con­cep­tion Bay South in a heavy­weight bat­tle to de­ter­mine the cham­pion at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex on Oct. 19.

There was drama, tense mo­ments, lead changes and emo­tion. Ev­ery­thing you would want when the two un­de­feated teams clashed to de­ter­mine the prov­ince’s best.

It was soft­ball’s ver­sion of Ali and Fra­zier in Manilla.

The teams traded leads go­ing into the top of the sixth in­ning. With the Astros lead­ing 10-8, the team hit four home runs to push its lead to six. Johnny But­ler, Brady Bar­rett, Bran­don Mo­ri­ar­ity and Stephen Mercer all crushed balls over the fence.

By the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning, the Astros were up 14-11 and clung to a three run ad­van­tage when the Pioneers stepped to the plate.

The team needed three outs to claim its third straight pro­vin­cial ti­tle.

How­ever, a vic­tory was not in the cards for As­cen­sion.

Queen El­iz­a­beth erased the deficit with a three-run home run, set­ting up the emo­tional fin­ish.

The Pioneers would end the game two bat­ters later af­ter a linedrive home run flied over the left field fence, mak­ing the fi­nal 16-14.

“It was any­body’s game,” said Astros coach Trevor Dixon. “I think we were ca­pa­ble of win­ning that game.

“Both teams hit re­ally well, and there were some re­ally nice de­fen­sive plays.”

The Astros were con­sid­ered the favourites head­ing into the tour­na­ment, hav­ing cap­tured the pre­vi­ous two pro­vin­cial ban­ners.

Dixon praised the work done by his team over the course of the tour­na­ment.

“They’re an ex­cel­lent group of kids and they played hard all weekend,” he said.

The sil­ver medal marked the third straight medal fin­ish for the Astros.

The tour­na­ment

The Astros were one of three lo­cal teams par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tour­na­ment. The cham­pi­onship game was not the only tense match As­cen­sion found it­self in.

In its semi­fi­nal game, the Astros squared off with the Laval Cava­liers of Pla­cen­tia.

It was a de­fen­sive bat­tle on both sides. As­cen­sion trailed 4-3 in the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning.

With Stewart Brazil on first base, Bradley Riggs ended the game with a two-run home run to push the Astros into the fi­nale.

In the round-robin, As­cen­sion bested Holy Trin­ity, Gan­der Col­le­giate and Laval.

En route to the semi­fi­nals, the Cava­liers de­feated Clarenville High, Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate and lost to Queen El­iz­a­beth.

The host Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate Sen­tinels started off the tour­na­ment with a win over Clarenville, be­fore drop­ping its next two games to Laval and Queen El­iz­a­beth.

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate first base­man Michael Han­cock an­tic­i­pates a ball be­ing hit his way dur­ing AAAA pro­vin­cial soft­ball ac­tion at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex on Oct. 18.

Laval short­stop Brent Hat­field fields a ball cleanly.

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

As­cen­sion Col­le­giate hit­ter Stewart Brazil gri­maces as he swings the bat dur­ing the cham­pi­onship game on Oct. 19.

Laval High of Pla­cen­tia pitcher Tris­tan McGrath de­liv­ers a pitch to a Clarenville High hit­ter on Oct. 18.

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