Mosquito A Hurricanes
SACKVILLE, N.B. â€“ After being crowned Zone 3 champions two weeks ago, the Sackville Hurricanes headed to Bathurst this past weekend to participate in the provinceâ€™s annual provincial tournament with hopes of being crowned New Brunswickâ€™s number one Mosquito A team.
Tournament play began on Friday when the Hurricanes took on their local rivals, the Dieppe Cardinals. The Hurricanes and Cardinals faced each other in many close matches over the past summer and Friday nightâ€™s match proved to be no different.
Sackville sent Ryan Cormier to the mound to try and shut down the Cardinal offense. Cormier shut down the Cardinals for two solid innings, striking out five batters, keeping Dieppe off the scoreboard. With two runners on base in the third, Jesse Estabrooks was brought in to get the Hurricanes out of a jam. Estabrooks pitched very well, limiting the Cardinals to only one run in the third.
After their opponents scored another two runs in the top of the fourth, the Hurricanesâ€™ offense found themselves in a hole. As the first batter in the bottom of the fourth, Cormier started things off with a walk. Estabrooks was up next and advanced to first after being hit by a pitch. Suddenly, the Hurricanesâ€™ offense was in business. Following a double steal, clean-up hitter Joe Carpenter hit a triple to right-center field, putting the Hurricanes on the board with their first two runs of the tournament. Emma Vogels and Justin Smith quickly followed with their first hits of the tournament, each driving in a run to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead after four innings.
After blanking the Cardinals in the fifth, the Hurricanes offense went to work once again. Colleen Wade started the inning with a solid single to center and advanced to second on a walk by Ethan Troop. Lead-off hitter Connor Cadman hit a solid ground-rule double bringing home Wade, followed by doubles from Estabrooks and Carpenter to put the Hurricanes up 8-3, which proved to be enough as they held on for an 8-5 victory.
Saturday morning had the Hurricanes facing Atholville. The first 10 Hurricanes batters going to the dish ended up on base, scoring the maximum allowed five runs in the inning with RBIs coming from Cadman, Vogels, Kinsey Mariasine, Adam Hall and Wade. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the bottom of the first inning was much like the top as Atholville answered back with five runs of their own.
The Hurricanes only had six more base runners for the rest of the game as the Altholville pitchers shut down their bats. Atholville continued its offensive onslaught, pulling off a 15-5 victory despite strong pitching performances from Magnus Goodwin, Justin Smith, Cadman and Vogels.
Saturday afternoon brought a match versus the host team Bathurst RedSox. The Hurricanes scored five runs in each of the first, second and fourth innings, while adding four runs in the third, to beat the host team by a score of 19-1.
Veteran Connor Cadman started the game off with an inside-the-park homerun, and things took off from there. It was a total team effort as each member of the Hurricanes reached base at least once, if not twice; Cadman, Vogels, Estabrooks, Hall, and Mariasine each reached base three times. Brayden Phinney had one of his best offensive outputs of the year with three RBIs on the day. Pitcher Ethan Troop allowed only one run while striking out three batters in his two innings. Hall pitched a solid third inning, striking out one; while Mariasine came in for the fourth, allowing only one hit while striking out three.
With a 2-1 record after round-robin play, the Hurricanes earned a berth into the semi-finals on Sunday morning. Baie St. Anne was the Hurricanesâ€™ opponent and the only thing blocking the Zone 3 champions from playing in the provincial finals.
The Hurricanes sent Carpenter to the mound for this pivotal game. With some very good pitching and timely defense from both teams, the Hurricanes found themselves down 2-1 after the first inning. The score remained 2-1 until the fourth when Carpenter hit an inside-the-park homerun to tie the game at two. Baie St. Anne answered back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and took a 5-2 lead.
Partway through the fourth inning, after pitching the maximum 75 pitches per day, Carpenter was forced to shut down his strong pitching performance and give the ball up to teammate Cadman. After allowing a walk and a hit in the bottom of the fourth, Cadman quickly settled down, getting the third batter he faced to fly out in foul territory for the third out of the inning.
Down but not out, the Hurricanes clawed their way back with one run in the fifth inning and added two more in the sixth, highlighted by an exciting play at home as Estabrooks slid in under the tag to tie the game at five. No runs scored in the bottom of the sixth which meant extra innings â€“ a first for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes came close to scoring in the seventh, with runners on second and third but were unable to get the go-ahead run across the plate. Baie St. Anne batters were shut down in order in the seventh, as Cadman struck out the side. The Hurricanes started the eighth with three quick runs from the top of the order with Vogels driving in two.
Going into the bottom of the eighth, the Hurricanes had a three-run lead. Holding them meant a shot at the championship later in the day. As Cadman was reaching his daily limit of 75, every pitch counted. The first batter reached base with a single. On the next pitch, the base runner attempted to steal second but was gunned down by catcher Jesse Estabrooks. The next batter walked, followed by a strike out. While the Hurricanes were still looking for that final out, Baie St. Anne managed to put the next three batters on base. With high levels of energy, tension and excitement, Cadman delivered three strikes to the next batter to get the Hurricanes into the championship game.
Ninety minutes later, the Hurricanes played Tracadie-Sheila in the finals. The Hurricanes got behind quickly, giving up five runs in the first inning. Tracadie-Sheila got off to a strong start and didnâ€™t look back. A tired Hurricanes team mustered only four runs on 10 hits in the six-inning match. Excellent pitching and timely defense from the veteran-laden Tracadie-Sheila team was too much for the Hurricanes to handle as Sackville lost 11-4, settling for a well-deserved silver medal.
Earning player of the games throughout the tournament were Ryan Cormier, Connor Cadman, Jesse Estabrooks (2) and Joe Carpenter.