League leader

Is­lan­ders’ third base­man Dil­lon Doucette’s bat re­freshed af­ter a sea­son off

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

Peakes na­tive Dil­lon Doucette is among the top hit­ters in the New Brunswick Se­nior Base­ball League.

Some­times time off is just what the doc­tor or­dered. Or in Dil­lon Doucette’s case ex­actly what his bat needed.

This sea­son, the Char­lot­te­town Gaudet’s Auto Body Is­lan­ders third base­man is rat­tling the New Brunswick Se­nior Base­ball League with a fourth-best .385 av­er­age and league-best 26 RBIs.

That af­ter play­ing only three games in 2014 be­cause of work com­mit­ments. So, said Doucette, there’s some­thing to that rest thing.

“A year off def­i­nitely did re­fresh me. I’m hav­ing fun, not putting too much pres­sure on my­self. I think that’s the key. What­ever comes af­ter that is a bonus,” said Doucette.

Doucette and the sec­ond­place Is­lan­ders (12-7) host the last-place Saint John Alpines (318) in a dou­ble­header to­day at Me­mo­rial Field. Game 1 starts at 2 p.m.

Char­lot­te­town leads the sea­son se­ries 5-1, in­clud­ing two shutouts, while outscor­ing the Alpines 45-16.

Doucette is just one of many Isles high in the bat­ting roll this sea­son. The squad has scored a league-best 113 runs and is driv­ing in nearly six runs a game.

Doucette also leads the league in triples with two and he’s sec­ond in the cir­cuit in hits (25), one be­hind league-leader and short­stop Dy­lan McKenna.

Sean Cor­co­ran is third in av­er­age (.386) while McKenna is fifth (.371) and Mor­gan Ma­cLean is sev­enth (.365).

Char­lot­te­town has al­ways been a strong de­fen­sive club with good pitch­ing, but this sea­son the bats have pro­vided con­sis­tent run sup­port.

And for Doucette it’s a mat­ter of a ma­tur­ing team.

“(For sev­eral years) it’s been the same group of guys. We’re a young team and still a young team, but ev­ery­body is start­ing to find their own in the league,” he said. “I just think hit­ting is con­ta­gious. We’ve got four or five guys hit­ting the ball, the 78-9 guys are get­ting on base and we keep rolling through.”

Pitch­ing has ben­e­fit­ted from the power out­put, too, al­low­ing hurlers more wrig­gle room on the mound.

Brody McDon­ald (1.85), Ja­cob Beck (2.02) and Jor­dan Steven­son (2.24) are fourth, fifth and sixth, re­spec­tively, in earne­drun av­er­age while Dan O’Shea (4.76 ERA) has the league’s lone no-hitter (a 3-0 de­feat of Saint John).

“Our pitch­ing has been great, too. Brody McDon­ald and Steven­son and Jake are bring­ing it ev­ery game, (as is) Dan O’Shea,” said Doucette.

So far, Doucette has ad­justed to op­pos­ing pitch­ers ad­just­ing to him.

He wasn’t sure he could af­ter a week­end se­ries where pitch­ers schooled him to the tune of one hit, but, he said, the poise he feels this sea­son took over and re-fo­cused his plate work.

“In my third year, I’m a lit­tle more con­fi­dent, know­ing what I can and can’t do,” he said. “If you have your con­fi­dence up, that’s a big part of the game.”

Char­lot­te­town con­tin­ues the home stand with matchup Tues­day against the Monc­ton Fisher Cats. First pitch is 7:30 p.m.

JASON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders’ third base­man Dil­lon Doucette is hav­ing a stel­lar sea­son. He sits fourth in league bat­ting, with a .385 av­er­age, and leads the se­nior loop with 26 RBIs.

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