FREDERICTON – The Stewiacke River Rats opened up their 2014 under-16 Fast Pitch Canadian Championship in a big way, with a 14-7 win over the Cape Breton Thunderbirds on Wednesday.
Led at the dish by Noah Hawkes and Michael Willis, the River Rats jumped out to a big lead in the second inning. After posting seven runs in the inning, the Rats put it on cruise control, with pitcher Therin Nevin taking control of the next few innings.
The Thunderbirds would bounce back late in the game, however, posting four runs in the fourth and another trio in the fifth, but the River Rats offense could not be tamed. The Rats added another six runs in the fifth to extend the lead to seven and invoke the mercy rule.
Nevin pitched all five innings, giving up seven runs – only three earned – and just three hits. He walked five and struck out six.
The River Rats qualified for the tournament last weekend, after beating the same Cape Breton squad 16-2 in the crossovers and downing West Hants 7-6 in the final. The River Rats come into the national tournament as Nova Scotia’s top representative.
The River Rats also played the Prince Albert Astros late Wednesday. A final score was not available as of press time.
Stewiacke will be back in action Thursday, with games going at 3:30 p.m. against the Kitchener-Waterloo Kolts (Ontario-2), and the Quebec Cadet at 7 p.m.