CHARLOTTETOWN – The P.E.I. Junior Islanders kicked off the 2018 New Brunswick Junior Baseball League season in impressive fashion on Saturday afternoon.
The Islanders registered a pair of one-run wins to sweep a doubleheader from the visiting Chatham Ironmen at Memorial Field. The Islanders won Game 1 by a 1-0 score, and took the second contest 5-4.
P.E.I.'s next action is in Charlottetown on Saturday as the defending-champion Metro Mudcats from Moncton visit for a doubleheader that is scheduled to start at noon. Sunday, the Islanders hit the road to play a pair of games in Saint John.
Islanders 1 Ironmen 0
In a scoreless battle, Ryne MacIsaac led off the bottom of seventh inning with a walk. Pinch-runner Elijah Hood advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs, setting the stage for Jed Noonan's walk-off run-scoring single to centre field. Hood and the ball arrived at catcher Jeremy Poole at the same time, and a tremendous collision caused the ball to come loose and the winning run to score.
Up to that point in the game, it had been a pitching duel between starting pitchers Mike McKay of the Ironmen and the Isles’ Johnny Arsenault. The left-handed McKay went six innings, and the only baserunner he allowed was a one-out single to MacIsaac in the fourth. He was relieved to start the 7th by Matt Carroll, who took the loss.
Arsenault surrendered only three hits and a walk before he was relieved by Brett Hicken in the fifth. Hicken picked up the win.
Zach Gosse had two hits for Chatham.
Islanders 5 Ironmen 4
In Game 2, the Islanders jumped in front 5-1, but had to survive a furious Ironmen rally in the seventh inning.
A Logan MacDougall RBI single and a run-scoring groundout from Noonan gave the Isles a 2-0 lead. Chatham's Nick Noel cut the lead in half with a run-scoring single in the fourth, but P.E.I. plated three more in the bottom of the fifth, aided by two key Ironmen errors.
Winning pitcher Porter Smith worked four solid innings, allowing four hits and one walk. Connor Jones followed with two shutout innings, and Nolan Hicken finished up. Johnny Henderson suffered the loss for Chatham, with relief help from Alex Preston
Hood, Matt Barlow, Kyle Pinksen, Chasse Gallant and Brandon Watts each had a hit for P.E.I. Gosse, Jayden Jones, Jake Cook and Poole all had two knocks for Chatham.