Ti­tle seek­ers

Colchester County trio at­tend­ing na­tional fast­pitch cham­pi­onship this week in Saska­toon

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

Colchester County play­ers, coach in Saska­toon this week chas­ing a Cana­dian se­nior men’s fast­pitch ti­tle as mem­bers of the east Hants Mastodons.

Pa­trick Ste­wart is hop­ing soft­ball his­tory will re­peat it­self at the Cana­dian se­nior men’s fast­pitch cham­pi­onship this week in Saska­toon, Sask.

Ste­wart is a Brook­field res­i­dent who will play at the na­tional tour­na­ment for the East Hants Mastodons.

In 1980, Ste­wart’s home­town Elks won Nova Sco­tia’s first na­tional se­nior men’s ti­tle in Saska­toon.

“That’s where the Elks won it in 1980, so it would be huge for me and the other Brook­field guys to do the same; it’d be a huge honour,” said Ste­wart, a first-base­man for the Mastodons.

The Elks and the 1998 Hal­i­fax Jaguars are the only Nova Sco­tia teams to win the Cana­dian cham­pi­onship in the tour­na­ment’s 51year his­tory.

Ste­wart, 32, was a mem­ber of the East Hants squad that fin­ished third at the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion last year and sec­ond in 2015. He’s op­ti­mistic about his team’s chances of suc­cess this week.

“I think we’re very good,” he said. “We’ve got pitch­ing and this year I think we’re a lot bet­ter than the last two or three years be­cause we’ve got more guys com­ing off the bench. I think we’re a lot deeper in hit­ting and we’ve got an ace for a pitcher in Justin Schofield.”

Ste­wart is one of three Colchester County res­i­dents suit­ing up for the Mastodons. Out­fielder Coby Crow­ell, of Brook­field, and as­sis­tant coach Mike Wood, of Stewiacke, are also on the team.

Mastodons coach Chris Hopewell, who played soft­ball in Brook­field for 10 years, said Ste­wart is a good con­tact hit­ter who

plays with an in­tense com­pet­i­tive edge.

“He just wants to win all the time,” said Hopewell.

Crow­ell, 20, will be play­ing in his sec­ond na­tional tour­na­ment of the sum­mer after com­pet­ing for his prov­ince at the Canada Sum­mer Games in early Au­gust in Win­nipeg.

“It’s un­be­liev­able, re­ally,” Crow­ell said of his op­por­tu­nity to play for the Mastodons. “It’s go­ing to be an­other great ex­pe­ri­ence for the sum­mer. It’s by far the big­gest sum­mer of ball I’ve ever had.”

As a young player, Crow­ell is likely to see lim­ited play­ing time, how­ever, the ex­pe­ri­ence of at­tend­ing a se­nior men’s na­tional will bode well for the fu­ture, said Hopewell.

“Things like go­ing away to na­tion­als and watch­ing some of the older guys hit the ball are go­ing to help him big time… and I hope the ex­pe­ri­ence he gains from that, he’ll want to play more next year and the year after, and he be­comes our ev­ery day cen­ter­fielder.”

Wood, 36, joined the Mastodons last year as an as­sis­tant after coach­ing two pro­vin­cial U18 squads at na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

He said he is thrilled with the chance to stay in­volved in the game at a high level.

“It’s a cool op­por­tu­nity, ac­tu­ally,” he said. “It’s a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, but it’s good to pass on the things that you’ve learned, whether they be men or whether they be kids, it’s a good ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – I learn ev­ery time we get out there.”

The Mastodons lineup is dot­ted with big-time tal­ent and in­cludes Jeff Ellsworth, Nick Shailes and Ja­son San­ford, team­mates this sum­mer with the ISC world cham­pion Hill United Chiefs of On­tario.

Schofield, a mem­ber of Canada’s bronze-medal team at this sum­mer’s world cham­pi­onship in White­horse, will an­chor the Mastodons’ pitch­ing staff.

The Mastodons open the tour­na­ment to­day against the Bu­lyeah Rustlers of Saskatchewan.

The Mastodons will host the 2018 na­tional cham­pi­onship in St. Croix, Hants County.

joey smihT.Truro Daily News

Coby Crow­ell, left, Mike Wood and Pa­trick Ste­wart are mem­bers of the East Hants Mastodons, who will com­pete at the Cana­dian se­nior men’s fast­pitch cham­pi­onship, be­gin­ning to­day in Saska­toon.

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