The CEC Cougars high school boys’ baseball team is off to a great start in its second season of operation.
“We have a 6-2 record through our first eight games this season,” said co-coach Scott MacGillivray, a science teacher at Truro Junior High School. “We have more depth than our first year. We have players who can play multiple positions and also pitch.
“If we play up to our potential we’ll challenge for the regional title.”
The Cougars did win a regional title last year before bowing out at provincials.
MacGillivray, who coached the Truro Bearcats of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League for five seasons, is hopeful the Cougars will play at least 15 games before hosting the Northumberland Regional playoffs on Oct. 11-12 at Bible Hill Recreational Park.
Joining him in the coaching department is J.P. Wood, a longtime member of the Truro Bearcats senior team.
“There’s nothing better than playing baseball this time of year,” said Wood. “I’m really enjoying working alongside Scott and helping with this CEC baseball program. We’re fortunate to have a number of real good ball players to build around.”
Wood, who grew up in Belmont and now lives in Truro, said teaching the fundamentals is an important part of coaching.
“Scott and I emphasize to the players ‘stick in there and good things will happen.’ We’re finding that the players seem to be really happy coming to the field. They want to play and overall the ball club is coming along quite well.”
Dustin Yuill and Sam Byers are co captains with the Cougars.
“I try to keep everyone on the team in a good mood,” said Yuill, a 17-year-old third baseman from Old Barns. “When the coaches are busy during practices I try to help out and keep everyone focused.”
Byers played a key role recently in a 5-4 victory over North Nova.
“The score was tied 4-4 with one out and a runner on first base when I came to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning,” said Byers, 17, a pitcher and infielder from Truro. “On the second pitch I squared the bat against the ball perfectly. The ball went into the gap in right centre field and Jordon McCallum crossed the plate with the winning run.”
McCallum, 16, a first baseman-pitcher from Truro, named North Nova as one of the Cougars’ toughest rivals.
“But I feel that our team will be in top contention,” he said. “It would be a big disappointment to me if we weren’t to make it to provincials just like last year. We are that strong. We have a great lineup and we have a real good all around ball team.”
Colton Beach, a pitcher-shortstop, is an example of the fine baseball talent suiting up with the Cougars. The 16-year-old from Stewiacke played for Nova Scotia this past summer during the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
“Those many workouts and practices during the summer were a big help to my game,” Beach said. “Then, getting to see game action at the Canada Games hopefully helped me become a better ball player.”
Beach was likewise positive when discussing the potential of the 2013 CEC Cougars.
“There’s a lot of life with this Cougars team,” Beach said. “We have a long range of skill and there’s a great team spirit. We’re deep in pitching, we have a good hitting lineup and we have an awful lot of speed. I feel we’ll be (at provincials) and we’ll be one of the top contending teams.”
CEC play at Hants North today at 1 p.m., they visit Northumberland tomorrow at 2 p.m. and return home to Bible Hill Recreational Park to host Northumberland Oct. 4 at 6.30 p.m. game.
NOTE: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News.
If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.