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Coach Smith confident Bearcats can claim final playoff spot

John Smith will coach the Truro Bearcats senior men's baseball team this season. Smith, a fiery competitor during his own playing days, takes the reins from John Chapman.
Truro Bearcats head coach John Smith.

TRURO, N.S. – It hasn’t been the type of season John Smith had envisioned.

The first-year head coach of the Truro Bearcats had high hopes for his team and felt the group he assembled in May was capable of achieving success in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League.

Instead, it’s been a tough go for the Bearcats, who have won just four of their first 21 games this season, leaving them last in the five team loop while scratching and clawing each night for their playoff lives.

“Realistically, we have a good team,” Smith told the Truro News this week. “I try and tell these guys just because we can put names on a piece of paper it doesn’t mean we’re going to win. You’ve got to play every game, and sometimes they have little mental lapses and they get down on themselves a little too much and we’ve got to stop looking at everybody else to blame and start blaming ourselves.”

The Bearcats started the season with nine straight losses, a scene all too familiar to the club, which lost its first 13 games in 2017. As of Thursday, July 19, Truro sat 2 ½ games behind the Kentville Wildcats for the fourth and final playoff spot.

“We never had it planned that way,” Smith said. “Every night, you got to play. To win, you’ve got to work hard and have some heart.”

Due to work and other commitments, Smith, at times, has had to work with a short roster. In a 13-6 loss in Halifax on Tuesday, the Bearcats had just 10 players, forcing the skipper to put players in unfamiliar field positions.  

“So it’s hard to try and put players in positions that they’re not used to paying,” he said. “But they’re faring out well, they’re doing okay, and I mean we still have an opportunity to make the playoffs, but we do need to pick it up and we need to figure out a way to get this thing done.”

The Bearcats host the Sydney Sooners for a pair of games on Sunday at the TAAC Grounds at 1 and 4 p.m. Following this weekend’s doubleheader, Truro has nine games remaining in the regular season.

Smith said he remains confident in his team’s ability to reverse fortunes and earn a berth in the post-season.

“They did it last year, so they’ll do it this year.”  

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