CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It’s do-or-die time for the P.E.I. Junior Islanders.
The Isles host the Chatham Ironmen tonight in Game 4 of their New Brunswick Junior Baseball League semifinal.
Game time is 8 p.m. at Memorial Field.
The expected starters are Brett Hicken for the home side and Zach Newman for the visitors.
“He’s hasn't thrown an inning in the series and he’s our No. 1,” Islanders head coach Dave MacIsaac said of Hicken, who hasn’t been available due to work commitments.
The Islanders have been right in every game but find themselves behind in the series.
“It’s just a matter of getting the big hit at the right time,” MacIsaac said. “If we can get out to a decent start against Newman I think it will take a load off everybody.”
MacIsaac doesn’t expect his players to be feeling any pressure despite the task at hand.
“A lot of these guys seem to thrive on it,” he said.
And the squad is expected to have first baseman Kyle Pinksen available after missing Wednesday’s game.
“He gives everybody confidence,” MacIsaac said.
An Islanders win would force a fifth and deciding game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Chatham, N.B.
Chatham grabbed a 2-1 series lead with a 6-3 win Wednesday in Chatham.
Chatham’s first three hitters singled to start the game against starter Porter Smith. Zach Newman’s bases-loaded walk gave the Ironmen a 1-0 lead.
Josh Myers’ solo homer tied it for P.E.I. in the third. The Islanders would take a 3-1 lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Riley Gallant and an RBI groundout from Myers.
Chatham answered in the bottom of fifth. Mike McKay led off the inning with a walk and Jake Cook dumped a single to right. Smith struck out Nick Noel, but Zach Newman blasted a three-run homer to right-centre field to give the Ironmen the lead 4-3.
They added two insurance runs in sixth against Smith and reliever Nolan Hicken.
Zach Gosse went the distance for the win, surrendering seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Smith was touched up for seven hits, six walks and hit two batters, but managed to wiggle out of trouble until the later innings.
Myers and Chandler Laporte each had two hits for P.E.I. while Matt Barlow and Jed Noonan chipped in singles. Cook had two hits for Chatham.