Bearcats ready to roll

Truro vis­its reign­ing cham­pion Yar­mouth to open new MHL sea­son

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS - JOEY SMITH TRURO NEWS

TRURO, N.S. – The Truro Bearcats don’t ex­actly ease into the new Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League sea­son.

The Bearcats hit the road to Yar­mouth on Fri­day to open the 2019-20 cam­paign against the reign­ing league-cham­pion Mariners – the first of four road games to start the sea­son. They won’t play their home opener un­til Sept. 28 when they host the Val­ley Wild­cats.

“I like the group,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans. “I don’t want to com­pare years, this is a new year, but I like the makeup of the team, I like the makeup of per­son­al­i­ties.”

Many new faces dot the Truro lineup – a mix of young and vet­eran tal­ent, who will be counted on to turn the team into a con­tender once more af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing 2018-2019 sea­son in which the Bearcats fin­ished fourth in their di­vi­sion and suf­fered an early play­off exit at the hands of the ri­val Mariners.

“I think we have more speed than we have pre­vi­ously,” said Evans. “I think we’ve got a lit­tle more skill, and it’s a team, and it’s more than half a new team from last year and they’re ex­cited and they’re bring­ing some good en­ergy to the rink.”

The Bearcats have 22 play­ers on their ros­ter. Their most re­cent ad­di­tion is 18-year-old for­ward Matt Gor­don, who was re­cently cut from the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads of the Que­bec ma­jor ju­nior league. Gor­don played ju­nior B last sea­son in Cam­bridge, Ont.

“We’re ex­cited to have him,” said Evans. “We think he’s a good, young, skilled hockey player.”

The Bearcats sent lo­cal de­fence­man Tan­ner Greatorex back to ma­jor midget in Pic­tou County late last week. Greatorex was one of Truro’s ter­ri­to­rial se­lec­tions, who ac­quit­ted him­self well dur­ing train­ing camp.

Vet­eran goal­tender Alec Macdonald will start be­tween the pipes on Fri­day. He will share the net dur­ing the early go­ing with Ai­dan Dun­ford. The Bearcats added goalie Sébastien Pla­m­on­don this sum­mer, how­ever, he is cur­rently side­lined with a bro­ken knuckle.

Seven play­ers on this year’s Truro ros­ter are from Colch­ester County – Car­son Lanceleve, Luke Macmil­lan, G Black­more, Ben Hig­gins, Marc Au­coin, Ben Fraser and Macdonald.

A re­cent in­ter­view with Seth Macpherson at the TAAC Grounds was all pos­i­tive.

Macpherson has en­joyed quite a base­ball sea­son and it’s not over yet. The young catcher, who also plays other po­si­tions, bat­ted well over .400 dur­ing 2019 and belted a cou­ple of home­runs, as well.

“I learned that Springhill Fence­busters have picked me up for At­lantics,” Macpherson, 13, of Bi­ble Hill, said. “It was pretty cool learn­ing an­other team feels you can make them bet­ter. My nerves should be pretty good; I was to At­lantics with Truro Bearcats in un­der 11 AAA mos­quito in 2016. We did well, fin­ish­ing sec­ond.”

Macpherson and his new Springhill team­mates will bid for the U13 AA At­lantic cham­pi­onship, hosted by Springhill, Sept. 13-15.

“I feel pretty good as I’ve played against and know many of the Springhill play­ers. This is good and I know they have an awesome coach.”

While dis­cussing his Truro Bearcats team, Macpherson com­mented on the re­cent provin­cial cham­pi­onship played in Dart­mouth. The Bearcats went 3-0 in round-robin play, and were later elim­i­nated by Springhill in play­off ac­tion.

“Even be­fore provin­cials our Bearcats team had been on some streak,” said Macpherson. “We had won a crazy num­ber of games in a row, some­thing like 13. I felt we were a strong team dur­ing provin­cials, we hit the ball well, our “D” was strong and ev­ery one of our games was close. We had a good chance of go­ing all the way, but some­times you need a lit­tle luck, that’s how it is in base­ball.”

An­other part of Macpherson’s dream sea­son and an out­stand­ing sum­mer saw him se­lected to play for Nova Sco­tia in the Cana­dian U13 base­ball cham­pi­onship in Re­pentigny, Que. In rep­re­sent­ing his prov­ince, Macpherson had a RBI dou­ble and a cou­ple other base hits.

“That was my first na­tion­als. I caught, I played short­stop and the out­field. It was awesome see­ing all those big teams from the other prov­inces. It was also nice play­ing on the best U13 base­ball team from N.S. My Bearcats team­mate Eli James, of Val­ley, also played for the provin­cial team. Eli is a first-base­man and a good pitcher. We’d both love to get back to na­tion­als.”

Macpherson de­vel­oped an early in­ter­est in base­ball.

“I re­mem­ber swing­ing a bat when I was re­ally young,” he said. “I re­mem­ber al­ways com­ing and watch­ing Truro Bearcats se­nior games when my fa­ther (James Macpherson) was coach­ing and my un­cle (Joe Macpherson) was play­ing. My first ball was in T-ball, next I played novice and then mos­quito base­ball.

“Dad put in hours with me in the back yard, he coached me around nine years. Joe has helped me a lot too, espe­cially with my swing. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate all the help I got from my fa­ther and my un­cle Joe.”

Con­tin­u­ing to talk base­ball (and sports) like a vet­eran, the Grade 8 Bi­ble Hill Ju­nior High stu­dent ad­vised.

“What at­tracts me to base­ball is get­ting dirty and I en­joy com­pe­ti­tion. I like be­ing part of a team, I get close with my team­mates. In hockey, I play cen­tre. I’m try­ing out with the Truro Bearcats ban­tam AA team, we’ve be­gan con­di­tion­ing.”

Seth’s fa­ther James coached se­nior base­ball with the Bearcats for five years. He was named Nova Sco­tia se­nior base­ball’s co-coach of the year in 2005. His many sea­sons coach­ing mi­nor base­ball in­cludes his mos­quito Bearcats win­ning a provin­cial ti­tle in 2016 and earn­ing a sil­ver medal at At­lantics. “As a kid, get­ting on a base­ball field was great and that feel­ing con­tin­ues to­day, James, 45, said. “See­ing the kids get a chance to play base­ball, as long as they will have me, I’ll keep com­ing.”

James’s brother and Seth’s un­cle Joe broke into se­nior base­ball with the Bearcats in 1995. He starred up un­til 2013 and in his last at-bat in se­nior base­ball, his op­po­site field dou­ble led to an RBI which tied him for the league lead in that depart­ment.

Re­turn­ing to base­ball in re­cent years, Joe helped Truro D&D Book­keep­ing Bearcats win the N.S. in­ter­me­di­ate AA base­ball cham­pi­onship dur­ing late Au­gust.

“It’s all about Seth,” Joe, 39, told me. “He’s way be­yond his years as a ball player, he’s get­ting stronger in ev­ery­thing. Seth and I have had 20-minute catches over the years, we talk base­ball, it’s al­ways base­ball.”

Alec Macdonald will get the nod on Fri­day in the crease when the Bearcats play their Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League sea­son open in Yar­mouth.

The Macpher­sons con­tinue to leave their mark in base­ball. From left, Joe Macpherson, Seth Macpherson and James Macpherson.

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