Three members of the Colchester Royals fastpitch team reminded me recently that young athletes are busy.
The Royals, under head coach Steve Patton and assistant coaches Andrew Sears and Evan Cates, are one of six teams in the Shooters Bar and Grill Fastpitch League. The Royals are preparing for the U19 nationals in Owen Sound, Ontario, Aug. 6-11.
“This league kind of challenges us,” Noah Berniquer, 16, of North River, said. “Playing against older and really experienced ball players, this helps in preparing for nationals. The older players are very respectful of our young team.”
The centrefielder, a third-year player, said tournaments and weekly practices with Nova Scotia’s U16 team help the team develop.
“It’s helped in preparing us for Owen Sound, we’re really coming together as a team. I feel we’re strong enough to finish in the top three at nationals.”
Also on Berniquer’s plate, he is trying out for the 2020 Nova Scotia Canada Games fastpitch team and he’s following a conditioning and training schedule for track and field. During August, he will compete at Legion Nationals in Sydney.
Callum Bouma, a catcher and outfielder, is looking forward to his fourth nationals.
“We have added some younger players who bring a lot of energy to the ball park,” Bouma, 19, of Lower Truro, said. “It shows the resilience of our group – last Thursday we lost to a strong Shubie team and then came back to defeat them in the second game of a doubleheader. We’re a tight knit group, we really support each other and we have a real good core group of 19 year olds.”
Bouma, who played major bantam hockey for Truro Bearcats and major midget for Pictou County, is also involved in fastpitch tryouts with the Nova Scotia Canada Games team.
Alec MacDonald, an outstanding third-year goaltender with the junior A Truro Bearcats, plays first base and in the outfield with the Royals.
“I really enjoy playing with these guys with Colchester Royals,” MacDonald, 19, of Truro, said. “We have tons of potential this year, we should have a good shot at winning nationals.”
Besides a lot of ball ahead with the Royals, MacDonald is also trying out with the Canada Games fastpitch team.
Then, there’s hockey.
“I’m in the gym working out every morning. I’ll begin workouts on the ice shortly. I hope to have a bigger role with the Bearcats this year, I want to help the team have as good a year as possible.”
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Bobby Matheson, 82, of Bible Hill passed away June 11, 2019. Matheson, who grew up in Truro and Londonderry, had a long career with CN Railway. In recent years, Matheson had a real
passion for hunting, fishing and gardening. During his earlier years, he was an outstanding baseball player.
“This fellow Matheson seems to look better with each game,”the Halifax Chronicle Herald’s Larry McDorman wrote in June of 1961. “Dartmouth Arrows Bobby Matheson drove in four runs
with two homeruns, the second – over the right field fence – was one of the longest we’ve seen at the Wanderers Grounds in a number of seasons. Matheson is a tremendous ball player.”
Howie Spears, who played with Matheson in the Eastern Senior Baseball League in 1961, shared the Herald write up recently.
“Bobby was a rugged, sturdy guy, a real good outfielder,” said Spears. “Bobby was not just a good long ball hitter, he was a good all-around hitter.”
A long homerun Matheson hit at “Little Brooklyn,” their home park, was revisited by Spears.
“Bobby hit it well over the right-field fence, it bounced a few times and rolled through the parking lot right to a rink located a long distance from home plate.”
Johnny Hutchinson played five seasons with Londonderry Ironclads.
“I played with Carl (the boy’s father), Bobby, Truman and Gary,” Hutchinson said. “Younger brothers Randy and Glenn came on the baseball scene later. Bobby always had a big smile on his face, if you mentioned the homerun he just hit, the smile got wider.
Bobby was a real good guy, he was a great teammate.”
Londonderry fielded some great teams over the years. Hum Joseph, Ron MacCormack, Stan “Chook” Maxwell, Bus Kuhn, RonRichards, Donnie Cummings and a long list of fine ball players wore the Ironclads uniform.
And, a perennial standout during many seasons was Bobby Matheson.
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.