Stay­ing on mes­sage

Char­lot­te­town aims for steady line to­ward the play­offs as the NBSBL reg­u­lar sea­son wraps up

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY CHARLES REID

With just nine games re­main­ing in the Char­lot­te­town Gaudet’s Auto Body Is­landers’ reg­u­lar sea­son, the team’s head coach has a sim­ple mes­sage for his troops.

“Keep im­prov­ing on de­fence. We’re pretty sure we’re go­ing to get good pitch­ing ev­ery night, so we have to do what we can do to scratch out a few more runs,” said Keith Craswell.

That mes­sage gets tested Tuesday when the Is­landers (7-16) host the Monc­ton Fisher Cats (12-10), the New Brunswick Se­nior Base­ball League’s top-scor­ing team with 125 runs.

Game time at Memo­rial Field in Char­lot­te­town is 7:30 p.m.

It’s no se­cret the Is­landers don’t score a lot – the of­fence has pro­duced a league-worst 67 runs.

But it’s also no se­cret the Isles have three qual­ity start­ing pitch­ers in Brody McDon­ald, Jor­dan Steven­son and Jake Beck, who’ve helped the squad keep runs down (93 runs against) and the Isles com­pet­i­tive.

The left-handed McDon­ald (0-4-1, 2.59 ERA) starts Tuesday and Craswell said he’s happy where the staff is.

“With Jor­dan Steven­son and Brody McDon­ald you know what you’re go­ing to get. Jake Beck (has pitched well but) has

been kind of a hard-luck loser,” said Craswell. “Brady Arse­nault and Colin Arse­nault came up from ju­nior this year, and they’re com­ing along. I ex­pect them to get bet­ter.”

The last two Monc­ton Char­lot­te­town meet­ings have pro­duced wild games. Char­lot­te­town won 9-3 at home on July 11, and then lost in Monc­ton 11-1 on July 19.

And de­spite last weekend’s split with the Chatham Iron­men (Char­lot­te­town outscored Chatham 4-3), the Isles’ bats have im­proved since July 1 and scored an av­er­age of 4.7 runs per game over those 11 games.

That’s up from the 1.25 per game Char­lot­te­town notched in its first 12 games.

All of which makes Craswell happy with the post-sea­son loom­ing.

“The bats are re­ally get­ting go­ing. I like the way we’re trend­ing right now.”

Char­lot­te­town faces Chatham on Thurs­day in Chatham at 7:30 p.m.

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