The Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders will host the Fredericton Royals in a rare doubleheader series this weekend.
The Islanders host the Royals today at Memorial Field in Charlottetown while the series turns to Legends Field in Summerside on Sunday. Both are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. while the second game is expected to start at 4:30 p.m. each day.
The young Islanders (5-13) sit in the basement in the five-team New Brunswick Senior Baseball League loop after having lost their last five.
“The team’s record is not disheartening,” said acting general manager Myles Grady. “We knew from the beginning that we would have our work cut out for us. We are young, and having set out the 2018 season, we knew that there would be an adjustment period.”
The Royals (6-7 before Friday’s game with Moncton) are one notch ahead in fourth place.
It has been a struggle for the Royals getting games in with challenging field conditions in the New Brunswick capital.
With the five wins and the majority of the losses being close games, the team has earned the respect of all the opponents.
“Coach Doug Hines and the young squad has nothing to be ashamed of,” Grady said.
“Doug has been right on key. He stated from the outset that the team will focus on defence and the bats will come and go.”
This weekend like Islanders will rely on ace righty Jordan Stevenson.
The New Glasgow native sports a 3-3 record in seven starts, but has 47 strikeouts, nine walks and a strong 1.71 earned-run average (ERA). Veteran Jacob Beck and rookie Darcy Affleck have taken up the bulk of the remaining starts while other rookie pitchers Porter Smith, Charles MacLellan and Johnny Arsenault will be called upon in the four-game weekend.
In the field it has been rookie Logan Gallant, who has provided the team with a sound defensive base. “Logan has started the majority of the games behind the plate. There are some excellent catchers in this league and he is near the top of the list,” Grady said of the 23-year-old Cornwall native. “I think other teams will take notice. It would be a mistake for either Chatham or Fredericton not to consider Logan as a pickup for the nationals. He can catch, he’s a strong middle infielder and he’s got great baseball sense. And, as he gets more plate appearances, his batting will be at all-star level, I’m sure of that. (On top of) all of that, you have a fully committed and passionately determined baseball player who is always ready to give his all for the team, game in and game out.”
Third baseman Grant Grady is the lone Islander hitting more than .300. The Freetown native said he hopes to keep it going this weekend and is confident his teammates will find their groove.
All-star Dillon Doucette, who is coming off a game sporting his first home run of the season, is one of those who is starting to get his timing back.
“As Dillon goes, so does the Islanders,” Myles said. “He is the leader. He is intense, focused and his skill level at mid infield is at another level. As his bat starts to come around the team will have a good chance to win any game.”