The Pictou County Highlanders are two-time baseball champions.
The Highlanders won four of the five games they played as they captured the Baseball Nova Scotia U-18 AAA honours for the second year in a row on Aug. 28 in Dartmouth.
The Highlanders went 2-1 during round-robin play and advanced to the semifinal against the host Dartmouth Arrows. After an explosion of runs in the first inning, the game was in hand and the Highlanders easily won, 9-0, which set up a rematch of last year’s final with the Hammonds Plains A’s.
Pictou County won the title, 16-10, in an old-fashioned slugfest over seven innings.
The championship game was the sixth meeting between the two teams this season, with every game being closely contested. But on this day, the Highlanders would not be denied as their bats exploded for 20 hits in the game. Mike Law and Cale Archibald led the charge, both going 4-for-4.
Carter Dickson, Joseph Mason, Jax Graham, Andrew Fraser and Lane Lochead also had multi-hit games in the win.
Ashton Royea earned the win on the mound with Jared Langille and Graham coming in for relief duties. Hammonds Plains had 11 hits in the losing effort.
The Highlanders began their tournament with a 4-0 shutout over the Hants North Jays. Royea led the Highlanders to victory on the hill, surrendering one hit over 3 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking one.
Cam MacKinnon threw 3 2/3 innings in relief out of the bullpen and recorded the last 11 outs to earn the save. He gave up zero hits and struck out seven Jays’ batters.
Offensively, Camden Weatherbee and Law led the way with two hits.
The Highlanders would have locked up a semifinal berth on Aug. 27 with a win over Hammonds Plains; however, the A’s had other plans by defeating Pictou County, 4-2, and forcing the Highlanders to win a meaningful game against the Halifax Mets later that day. Pictou County started well with Dickson doubling in the first inning to drive in the first run of the game. However, Hammonds Plains scored three in the third and the Highlanders could not recover.
Langille had three hits in the loss.
In the must win afternoon game against the Mets, Pictou County won the game in wild fashion as the Mets were forced to forfeit the game when one of their players was ejected from the game and the Mets had no remaining players on their bench after making their final substitution in the previous inning. The game officially ended with a 7-0 victory but when the game ended, the Highlanders were winning 12-4 in the fourth inning.
Lochead earned the victory on the mound, while Tanner Steele and Law both managed multi-hit games offensively. Steele received the player of the game.
With the 7-0 victory, the Highlanders ended round-robin play in first place in their division and played the Dartmouth Arrows, who finished second in the other division.
The Highlanders got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first inning and responded by putting up six runs in the bottom half. After scoring two more in the second inning, the Highlanders cruised to a 9-0 win and a berth in the final.
Cameron Young started the game on the mound and struck out four over three innings of work. MacKinnon and Langille closed out the game in relief. Offensively, every Highlanders starter recorded at least one hit in the game.