SASKATOON, SK.: The East Hants Shooters Bar & Grill Mastodons rode the strong arm of Justin Schofield all the way to Canadian fast pitch glory, besting the Defending Champion NL Hitmen 6-5 in the championship final.
Schofield threw seven complete innings pitching the Mastodons to their first ever Senior Men’s Fast Pitch championship title. He surrendered five runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking two in the final.
It was the second match-up between the two in as many days as N.S. beat NL 5-2 in the championship round to punch their ticket to the final. East Hants went 5-1 in round-robin play.
NL had to await the winner of a Sunday morning game before playing, and they won that game to setup the rematch with the Mastodons as they tried to win their sixth championship.
In the final, Jeff Ellsworth (2-for-3) of Alberton, P.E.I., Jay Duffy (1-for-2, two RBI), and Australian Nick Shailes (1-for-1 RBI and with two walks), one of men’s fast pitch best players in the world, each homered as the Mastodons scored twice in each of the first, third and fourth innings.
The staunch Mastodon defence and the hard throwing Schofield held the NL Hitmen at bay as they looked for the tying run and go-head run, to no avail.
Joel Isenor, Patrick Stewart, and Jonah Wright were each 1-for-3 in the contest. Stewart scored one run.
The final out was a ground out to shortstop Shailes, who threw to Stewart at first, and then the party was on as the Mastodons went to the mound in joyful celebration mugging each other and Schofield for the victory. They were the best of the 12 teams at the tournament.
Meanwhile, before the playoff round began the All Canadian awards were handed out following round-robin play. Joel Isenor, Nick Shailes, and Donnelly Archibald were each a recipient of an award.
East Hants’ roster also included: Jake Hopewell; Chris Hopewell (head coach); Travis Nevin; Cody Anthony; Alex Anthony; Darcy Gillis; Jason Sandford; Colby Crowell; Manager Darcy Campbell; Assistant coach Mike Wood; Aaron Long; and Aaron Harvey.
The Mastodons are set to host the 2018 Senior Men’s Fast Pitch Nationals in St. Croix. The organizing committee is expected to get work shortly in fine tuning the plans for the event.