Hants County ball players had a hand in helping the Stellarton-based MacGregors advance to nationals and win provincials this season.
The Midget AAA (18 and under) MacGregors finished first in the Bluenose League, won the national elimination tournament to earn the right to represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian championships and brought home a provincial banner.
Coach Ryan Thibeau can’t remember a time when another team in that particular league reached the same milestones in a single season.
He said third baseman Dustin Harvie, catcher Devin Sanford and outifielder Ryan McPhee, all from the Kennetcook area, played key roles in making it happen.
“It was quite a way for them to end the minor baseball season and their years with the MacGregors,” said Thibeau.
Sanford proved to be a standout player not only with the MacGregors, but also in the league.
“Devin was an amazing catcher. He was probably the best, if not top three, in the province or in the league for catchers,” Thibeau said.
The versatile McPhee was consistent in the outfield and on the pitching mound.
“Ryan McPhee, for the most part, he was one of our top pitchers. He pitched in a lot of big situations for us this year and did exceptionally well.”
A reliable playmaker, Harvie had a few tricks up his sleeve on, and off, third base.
“When needed him to pitch he went in and did his job and he actually swung a pretty good bat this year. I think he was a top three on our team for average,” said Thibeau.
The MacGregors added U17 Selects player Colan McCulloch, also from Hants North, to the roster for nationals in Magog, Quebec.
“He was very solid defensively and actually he had the better averages on our team when he was hitting,”said Thibeau.
The team finished ninth overall with a 3-3 record at nationals.
“There were some times where we could have used a few extra hits or a few extra innings out of the pitcher but, for the most part, we played well.”
It can be challenging to muster up enough energy to win provincials shortly after arriving home from a national tournament, but Tibeau said the MacGregors gave it their all to accomplish just that at the end of August.
“When they were all on the field they always knew they had the chance to win, they always knew they had the team to win, so that pretty much gave them the drive to do what they did this year.”