Plenty to be proud of

Prince Ed­ward Is­land squad of new­com­ers fin­ishes six

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON MALLOY

Team P.E.I. fin­ished sixth at the Canada Games soft­ball tour­na­ment with most of its play­ers hav­ing picked up the sport dur­ing the last 2 ½ years.

New­found­land and Labrador de­feated the Is­land 9-6 Fri­day on the last day of the cham­pi­onship. They fin­ished the tour­na­ment 3-6 in pre­lim­i­nary play and split two plac­ing games to end with a 4-7 record.

“I just said to the guys, ‘You should be very proud of what you ac­com­plished’,” head coach Mark Quinn said af­ter the game. “They came in and com­peted against the best soft­ball play­ers from across the coun­try and fin­ished sixth.”

P.E.I. struck for two runs in the top of the first in­ning, but New­found­land re­sponded with four in its half of the in­ning. They added sin­gle runs in the sec­ond, third and sixth in­nings plus a deuce in the fourth. P.E.I. got a two-run home run from Lo­gan Gal­lant in the fifth and threat­ened for more in the sev­enth.

Ty McA­dam had a sin­gle, dou­ble and a walk, Stephen O’Shea and Jonathan Arse­nault each had dou­bles while Sam Walsh sin­gled. Arse­nault al­lowed nine runs on 12 hits. He walked two and struck out two.

“Th­ese guys have been play­ing their whole lives,’’ catcher Parker Ron­a­han said of the rest of the field. “We started 2 ½ years ago from scratch and to fin­ish sixth amongst the best in Canada that’s un­be­liev­able.”

Ron­a­han caught nine of the team’s 11 games dur­ing the seven-day tour­na­ment. Many of them were played in scorching heat with him wear­ing the ex­tra pro­tec­tive gear for the po­si­tion and block­ing balls in the dirt.

“The knees are pretty sore, but it’s all right . . . you have all next week to rest,’’ he said.

Arse­nault went the dis­tance again Fri­day. He pitched 39 2/3 in­nings dur­ing the week­long tour­na­ment.

“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Ron­a­han said. “He’s our back­bone and with­out him, we wouldn’t be fin­ish­ing sixth.”

Quinn said the team re­ceived con­tri­bu­tions from up and down its ros­ter while Ron­a­han said the team’s staff of Quinn, Mike Bishop and Ge­orge Drover were in­stru­men­tal in the team’s suc­cess.

“All the work that Bishy, Quin­ner and Drover put in is just over­whelm­ing,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Mark Quinn, we wouldn’t be here to­day.”

Ron­a­han said there are many things that stand out dur­ing the week, in­clud­ing fin­ish­ing sixth, play­ing a good game against Saskatchewan and hav­ing a 5-4 lead on On­tario. And some of the mem­o­ries hap­pened out­side the field of play.

“We have a great group of guys from one end of the Is­land to the other,” he said. “We shared a lot of good mem­o­ries, for sure.”

JA­SON MALLOY/THE GUARDIAN

Jonathan Arse­nault throws a pitch dur­ing Team P.E.I.’s fi­nal men’s soft­ball game at the Canada Games in Win­nipeg. He was a work­horse for the team all week.

JA­SON MALLOY/THE GUARDIAN

Team P.E.I.’s Sam Walsh slides to try to avoid the tag of New­found­land and Labrador’s pitcher Jor­dan Nof­tall Fri­day at the Canada Games in Win­nipeg.

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