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Higgins, Matheson among the best in NSSBL history


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TRURO - Two of the cornerstones of Truro's senior baseball teams for the past 15 years were honoured Friday.
Bearcats Craig Higgins and Kevin Matheson were among the 11 players selected as the top players in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League since the circuit's inception in 1977. The list was announced Friday in Halifax prior to the season's first game of the season between Sydney and Kentville.
"When I looked around the room and heard some of the statistics read out of the other guys that were there, it's certainly a great honour," Higgins said.
"I thought about a lot of the players that weren't included on the list ... I could go through a whole list of people that I played against and played with that were very good baseball players."
Higgins was selected as the team's first baseman while Matheson was one of the outfielders.
"It's nice to go in with Craig, for sure, and to be recognized for playing over the years, particularly with a lot of the guys I played against," said Matheson, who has decided not to play this year. "It's a nice thing to go out with."
Both players are not about personal statistics. They play the game to help their team win games during the regular season to position themselves for long runs in the playoffs.
"I don't think we play the game for that," Matheson said of the personal recognition. "As your career ends and you look back on it, to be recognized with the elite players that were there it's a good feeling and it's definitely an honour."
"You play the game and statistics kind of accumulate themselves but you don't think about them at all during the course of the season," Higgins added.
The two stalwarts, who have been teammates since the early 1990s, don't hesitate when asked if there is a special moment that stands out during their careers.
"Without a doubt the championship we won was a career highlight for me in all my baseball years," said Matheson, who hit a championship clinching home run in the bottom of the 10th inning against Dartmouth in Game 6 of the 2002 league final at the TAAC Grounds. "To play so many years with the core group of guys we had, like Craig, Winston Brown and Jeff Fielding and Kelly Spencer. We played a long time together to finally win one it stands out far, far above anything else I have ever done in baseball."
League statistician and sport historian Burton Russell, of Kentville, compiled the list. The team includes C Doug Simunic (Moncton/Sydney Mines), 2B Sandy Van Blarcom (Kentville), 3B Jim Pelham (Halifax), SS Ian Lockhart (Kentville), OF Joel Irvine (Dartmouth), Kevin Umlah (Halifax), DH Darren Doucette (Dartmouth), RHP Trevor Zwaan (Dartmouth), LHP Jason Bailey (Dartmouth).

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

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