Car­bon­ear cap­tures At­lantic Cup

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The Car­bon­ear un­der-12 fast­pitch team brought home the At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup af­ter up­end­ing Conception Bay Cen­tral 5-0 in the cham­pi­onship game held in Conception Bay South on Sept. 20. Car­bon­ear got solid hit­ting and swung some hot bats in the fi­nal.

Car­bon­ear’s Joshua Kennedy stepped to the plate need­ing a big hit in the cham­pi­onship game.

The bases were loaded for the mem­ber of the un­der-12 fast­pitch soft­ball team com­pet­ing at the At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup be­ing held in Conception Bay South ear­lier this month.

Squar­ing off with Conception Bay Cen­tral, Kennedy lined up an early pitch in the at-bat and lined a shot into the out­field. The ball eluded a pair of op­po­si­tion out­field­ers and Car­bon­ear cleared the bases to register its first three runs of the con­test.

Kennedy would later score on an er­ror to make it 4-0. Car­bon­ear later tacked on another run in a 5-0 vic­tory.

The ap­proach Kennedy took to the plate is one Car­bon­ear coaches have preached all sum­mer — be ag­gres­sive and good things will come of it.

“We’d rather see our hit­ters go down swing­ing than tak­ing pitches,” said coach Nick Saun­ders. “You’re not al­ways go­ing to get the per­fect pitch.”

It’s an ap­proach that al­lowed the boys in red and blue to score 54 runs in five games.

“That comes with rep­e­ti­tion,” said Saun­ders. “We are al­ways en­cour­ag­ing the play­ers to try and make con­tact.”

Pitch­ers Reid Deer­ing and Matthew King com­bined for the shutout. Win­ning the At­lantic cup was a proud mo­ment for the Car­bon­ear lads. It was their first cham­pi­onship at the tour­ney in two trips.

“My son said, ‘Dad, it’s called the At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup, I at least thought there would be a cup,’ when we were get­ting the medals,” said Saun­ders. “That’s the youth side of it and that’s what makes it fun.”

High cal­iber soft­ball

While last year’s trip to P.E.I. was a truly At­lantic ex­pe­ri­ence for the Car­bon­ear team, this tour­ney missed the mark in that re­spect.

Some of the wind went out of their sails when it was dis­cov­ered teams from Prince Ed­ward Is­land, Nova Sco­tia and New Brunswick were un­able to at­tend the tour­na­ment due to other com­mit­ments and cer­tain re­straints.

De­spite this, they squared off with four soft­ball rep­re­senta- tives from this province.

“We were still ex­cited about play­ing some high cal­iber ball,” said Saun­ders. The tour­ney Car­bon­ear got thing started with a lop­sided 17-0 vic­tory over host CBS. That game was fol­lowed by a sim­i­lar drub­bing of Pla­cen­tia (15-0).

On Day 2, Car­bon­ear squeaked by the South­ern Shore 2-1 be­fore nar­rowly get­ting by CBC 1-0.

Meet­ing Pla­cen­tia again in the semi­fi­nals, Car­bon­ear bested the Lions 5-0 to set up the fi­nal with CBC.

Pitch­ing a big part of it

Moreso than any other game that in­volves a player throw­ing a ball to another player, fast­pitch re­quires you to have a set of strong pitch­ers. The short dis­tance be­tween the hitter and thrower makes it im­per­a­tive to have a group of ath­letes ca­pa­ble of throw­ing strikes and keep­ing hit­ters off bal­ance.

By all ac­counts, Car­bon­ear had that in spades. Their four young arms are steadily im­prov­ing and should be play­ers in the near fu­ture.

In the tour­na­ment, the Car­bon­ear hurlers al­lowed just a sin­gle run over three days of com­pe­ti­tion.

“We have a group that has re­ally taken to pitch­ing,” said Saun­ders. “There weren’t a whole lot of walks. Our boys went af­ter it.

“We knew go­ing in that we had a set of good arms.”

Like all ball teams from this province, the sum­mer was not the kind­est when it came to the weather. June and July were rather wet, while Au­gust of­fered just a cou­ple of weeks that were fit for step­ping on to the field.

“The weather didn’t co­op­er­ate a lot of the time, but we had a great sum­mer,” said Saun­ders. “What they have learned is sec­ond to none.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Car­bon­ear un­der-12 male fast­pitch soft­ball shutout CBC 5-0 in the fi­nal of the At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup held in Conception Bay South on Sept. 20. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — Ja­cob Kennedy and Ben Ryan; mid­dle — coach Dave Kennedy, Cameron Byrne, Reid Deer­ing, Matthew King, Adrian Green and as­sis­tant coach Char­lie Deer­ing; back — equip­ment man­ager Phil An­tle, Dy­lan Broom­field, as­sis­tant coach Nick Saun­ders, Ni­cholas An­tle, Ja­cob Kennedy, Ri­ley Green, man­ager Paul Un­der­hay, Liam Un­der­hay and Hunter Saun­ders.

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