Saturday night (August 10) Team Nova Scotia played their final pool game of the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup versus Team PEI. Since Nova Scotia was already guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals with a 4 and 0 record to that point, this was not a must-win game for them. Team NS decided to save most of their pitching for their two games on Sunday and lean on players who had not pitched that much for the NS Selects this year to this point to carry the load on the mound.
Nova Scotia got things off to a good start with a leadoff pop-up Double to Left Field by Duncan McLaughlin that “had eyes”. After PEI starting pitcher Jack MacKenzie struck out the next batter, Camden Rendell hit a single to drive in McLaughlin. MacKenzie worked his way out of the inning from there with another strikeout and a groundout.
Rendell (8 1/3 previous innings pitching for NS in 38 games) got the start for NS on the mound. PEI leadoff batter Chase Gaudette worked a walk to get things started in the bottom of the 1st. Nolan Ryan (yes that’s right folks but not the same guy) then reached on an error. With runners on 1st and 2nd Duncan Picketts then lined out to NS 2nd Baseman Shane Cowan and Gaudette was doubled off trying to get back to 2nd. Ryan was then caught attempting to steal 2nd to end the inning.
The top of the 2nd was a quick half inning with Mackenzie striking out two and getting Brett McMullin to line out to the Shortstop. In the bottom of the inning, Rendell struggled a bit with his control, walking the first three batters to load the bases. At that point the Nova Scotia coaches brought in Ryan Fitzgerald (3 previous innings pitching for NS in 38 games) to pitch. Fitzgerald immediately induced a grounder from Ty Arsenault that hit runner Dylan Worth for the first out of the inning. Fitzgerald then got Carter MacNeil to ground out for the second out of the inning, which allowed Ben MacDougall to score. Connor Ellsworth then popped out to Fitzgerald to end the inning with only 1 run allowed. The game was then tied at 1.
Fitzgerald had a much cleaner inning in the 3rd, giving up a Walk but also inducing three ground ball outs. The 4th inning started well for Fitzgerald with a strikeout of Tyler Taylor to kick things off. However, the next batter reached on an error on a grounder to 2nd. Fitzgerald then induced a pop out by the next batter for the second out of the inning. Carter MacNeil then hit a single and Connor Ellsworth walked to load the bases. At that point, Nova Scotia brought in Nick Gravel (0 previous innings pitching for NS in the 27 games since he joined the team in late June). Gravel then got Chase Gaudette to ground out to end the PEI rally and keep the game tied at 1.
In the 5th inning PEI got things going again on offense. Nolan Ryan walked to lead things off and was promptly sacrificed to second by Duncan Picketts. Ryan then moved to 3rd on a Wild Pitch. Ben McDougall then walked and promptly stole 2nd base. Tyler Taylor then hit a Sacrifice Fly to score Ryan. Next Dylan Worth hit a Double to score McDougall. Ty Arsenault then grounded out to end the inning but PEI was now up 3 to 1.
For Nova Scotia’s part they never really got things going at the plate after the 1st, despite getting some promising innings going. In. The top of the 2nd with 1 out, Duncan McLaughlin had his second popup hit of the game. Then Noah Boutlier hit a line single. MacKenzie was able to work out of it by inducing a flyout to Center and a groundout Fielder’s Choice. In the 4th he had a 3-up-3-down inning with two strikeouts and a groundout.
The top of the 5th was Nova Scotia’s most promising inning. Pinch Hitter Mike Short was hit by a pitch but quickly picked off at 1st by MacKenzie. Nolan O’Brien then hit a line drive Single but was also picked off by MacKenzie at 1st. With two outs McLaughlin hit another popup for a Single and Boutilier hit another line drive Single. With two men on and two outs, MacKenzie induced a groundout to end the NS rally.
In the top of the 6th MacKenzie walked Pitch Hitter Camilo Riesgo, but then shut NS down with a groundout, a strikeout, and a flyout to end the inning. In the bottom of the 6th Layton Cuvilier came on to pitch for Nova Scotia, and put together a 3-up-3-down inning with a lineout and two strikeouts. In the top of the 7th O’Brien singled again. At that point Tyler Taylor came on to relieve MacKenzie and struck out two batters to seal the win for PEI.
MacKenzie gets the Win and the Player of the Game for PEI. Gravel takes the Loss for Nova Scotia.
Duncan McLaughlin led the offensive attack for NS with a Double and two Singles. Noah Boutlier and Nolan O’Brien also chipped in with two Singles each. The only other Nova Scotia hit in this game was a Single by Cam Rendell to drive in the only run for NS in this game.
Despite this Loss to PEI, Nova Scotia was the top team in Pool B and moved on to the semi-finals on Sunday morning in a match-up against Pool A winner Quebec.