Hants County team­mates ‘nicest guys you could meet’

Nova Sco­tia Mon­archs bring home sil­ver medal from Roy Hobbs World Se­ries com­pe­ti­tion

Valley Journal Advertiser - - SPORTS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL WWW.HANTSJOUR­NAL.CA

Three Hants County base­ball play­ers re­cently had a shot at win­ning a World Se­ries ti­tle.

Al Simm, Ed Sher­man, and Jeff Burgess, mem­bers of the Nova Sco­tia Mon­archs, com­peted at the Roy Hobbs World Se­ries in Fort My­ers, Flor­ida. The Mon­archs com­peted in the AAA Leg­ends 53-plus di­vi­sion Nov. 11-17 and won the first five games to ad­vance to the semi­fi­nals.

In the semi­fi­nals, the Mon­archs de­feated the Bahama Breeze Is­lands 5-4, the Omaha In­di­ans 16-6 and the Or­lando Blaz­ers 5-4 to se­cure a cham­pi­onship fi­nale against the Mas­sachusetts Chiefs.

They lost the fi­nal 14-6, but re­turned home with a sil­ver medal — and brag­ging rights.

“This year, our field­ing was much, much bet­ter. We didn’t make very many er­rors... and we hit good,” said Simm, who has been with the Mon­archs for four years and has made the trip an­nu­ally.

“The high­light was fin­ish­ing as good as we did be­cause we don’t ever fin­ish that good,” the Up­per Fal­mouth res­i­dent said with a chuckle.

“Our on base per­cent­age was a lot higher this year than in pre­vi­ous years.”

The Roy Hobbs World Se­ries pro­motes adult am­a­teur re­cre­ation base­ball, bring­ing five weeks of com­pe­ti­tion to Fort My­ers. There’s a women’s di­vi­sion, plus men’s di­vi­sions sep­a­rated by age (from 35 to 75-plus).

For Mon­archs’ short­stop Ed Sher­man, the cham­pi­onship marked his first in­ter­na­tional trip with the Nova Sco­tia team.

“This was my first ex­pe­ri­ence. That’s ac­tu­ally some­thing the guys tease me about,” said Sher­man, who calls Wind­sor home. “They’ve been play­ing for years and years and years and they’ve never done this well... This is my first year and we end up in a cham­pi­onship for Triple A.”

He cred­its the suc­cess to a va­ri­ety of fac­tors, in­clud­ing how well the team gelled as soon as they played their first game.

“I don’t think it was one spe­cific thing; I think it was just how it kind of snow­balled and kept grow­ing. It seems like we picked up some mo­men­tum and just car­ried it through.”

Hants County play­ers bring unique el­e­ment to sport

Eric An­thony, the head coach of the 53-plus team, formed the Hal­i­fax-based league sev­eral years ago.

He said the Hants County play­ers all con­trib­uted to the sil­ver medal.

“They’re three of the nicest guys you could meet. They all bring a dif­fer­ent el­e­ment, I guess you could say, to the game,” said An­thony.

Burgess was the third base­man.

“He adds a lot of power and a lot of smarts to the game,” said An­thony.

An­thony joked that he hoped Sher­man wouldn’t be spoiled by the ex­cep­tional re­sult the team had.

“He was phe­nom­e­nal. His de­fence was ex­cel­lent and he’s even, at a late age, learn­ing how to switch hit. His hit­ting is very, very good,” said An­thony.

As for Simm, he “was our lead­off and he had great of­fence and he was se­lected as our MVP of the tour­na­ment.”

Simm played in the out­field. “I don’t know how they could pick an MVP out of all of that,” Simm said in a phone in­ter­view af­ter re­turn­ing from the trip.

“To me, every­body down there was an MVP with just the way ev­ery­thing came to­gether for us,” Simm added.

An­thony has watched the league grow con­sid­er­ably over the past three years.

“We started about three years ago with 40 guys. In a mat­ter of three years, we’ve ex­panded to six teams and 90 guys. It’s go­ing to grow next year. We could be pos­si­bly up to eight teams,” said An­thony, not­ing that while they’re based in HRM, they have play­ers from through­out the prov­ince, in­clud­ing sev­eral from the Val­ley.

The Nova Sco­tia Mon­archs had four teams com­pete in Fort My­ers in 2018; An­thony hopes to be send­ing up to six next year.

“Over the next cou­ple of months we will be de­cid­ing if we will have a 70-plus team and if we will have a sec­ond 53 team,” he said, adding there’s at least 14 peo­ple who have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in com­pet­ing in the higher age bracket.

Regis­tra­tion for the league, and the 2019 Roy Hobbs World Se­ries, be­gins in March. An­thony says the league is op­ti­mistic that it will con­tinue to grow as more se­nior base­ball play­ers re­al­ize they can con­tinue play­ing the sport they love in a more recre­ational, yet still com­pet­i­tive, fash­ion.

“A bunch of older base­ball play­ers love to do it if they can. It’s just a mat­ter of set­ting it up and hav­ing it there for them,” said An­thony.

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