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SPORTS SCENE: Colchester Royals enjoy strong run at nationals

LEFT: Rowan Sears was brilliant for the Royals from his shortstop position and also swung a dangerous bat in Owen Sound, Ont. RIGHT: Outfielder Keegan Crowell, shown batting in national play, was outstanding for Colchester Royals.
LEFT: Rowan Sears was brilliant for the Royals from his shortstop position and also swung a dangerous bat in Owen Sound, Ont. RIGHT: Outfielder Keegan Crowell, shown batting in national play, was outstanding for Colchester Royals. - Contributed

Getting to play in a Canadian fastpitch championship is really quite an accomplishment for a young ball player.
Competing well and being in the running for a medal is even better.
Colchester Royals recently returned home from the U19 fastpitch nationals in Owen Sound, Ont. The Royals made an outstanding showing against Canada’s very best U19 fastpitch players, going 6-2 in round robin play and finishing with a 7-3 overall record, good for a fifth-place finish. Outfielder Keegan Crowell, playing in his fifth nationals, described it as a special experience.
“It’s basically like a kid at Christmas time,” Crowell, 19, of Brookfield, said. “You go there knowing you are going to be competing against top-notch teams. When you’ve played against a lot of these players over the years, you know it’s going to be outstanding competition.”
Crowell said every team was strong.
“Our team’s performance was the best showing by any team I’ve been to nationals with. Three teams finished round robin play with 7-1 records, we finished right behind with a 6-2 record. Our team was basically like family, we were great at getting each other up and sticking in there. I’m 100 per cent proud of every member of our ball team.”
In contributing to the Royals outstanding run at a national medal, Crowell enjoyed a tremendous tournament at the plate. In 10 games he
batted .355, with 11 base hits in 31 at bats. He pounded out three triples, one home run and had six RBIs.
“My bat was probably going better than ever before,” Crowell told me. “However, when I play in these big tournaments it’s all about team stats, not my personal performance. It’s first and foremost important to help the team. Basically, I take it play by play, try to watch every pitch and do the job in the field. I try to stay calm and I don’t worry about the seventh inning until we get to the seventh inning.”
As we talked further, the outstanding young outfielder talked about teamwork, team spirit and camaraderie. Crowell will be attending
Nova Scotia Community College in Halifax this fall, taking aircraft maintenance engineering.
In representing Nova Scotia well, the Colchester Royals also received a big performance from Rowan Sears. The outstanding fielding shortstop,
who played for Canada in the 2018 world junior fastpitch championship in Prince Albert, Sask., was noticeably pleased with his team’s
performance.
“We played really well, it was a strong team showing,” Sears, 19, of Brookfield, said. “If a couple balls that dropped in had of been caught, and
had a couple bounces gone our way, we could have had even a better record. Our team was really solid during the round-robin, we took care of the teams we had to beat and we played well against the top teams.”
Sears made a point by referring to a tough 1-0 loss to Shallow Lake Sting during the round-robin. Shallow Lake went on to win the national crown.
“To lose 1-0 to the team that went on to win the championship, we felt we definitely had a shot this year to win it all. We were kind of on the path but then we ran into Kitchener. In looking back at all the possibilities, I feel that it certainly could have been our year to win the national championship.”
Advancing to the playoffs, the Royals defeated Shellbrook Rangers 7-2  before being eliminated virtue of an 8-2 setback at the hands of Kitchener-Waterloo Twins.
Sears’s overall personal play saw him perform brilliantly both offensively and defensively throughout the championship tournament. At the plate, he went 7-for-25 in 10 games for a .280 batting average. He had two triples and led the team in runs scored (8) and walks (7). At his shortstop position he was likewise outstanding with 14 assists, nine putouts and a .958 fielding percentage.
Outfielder Alec MacDonald enjoyed a big tournament – batting .353, six hits in 17 at bats with two RBIs. Cam Patton, Brodie Fraser, Carson Lanceleve, Carter McNutt, Nathan Peters and the complete roster stepped up to contribute during the strong showing by the Nova Scotia representatives.
The Royals, coached by Steve Patton and assistant coaches Andrew Sears and Evan Cates, continue to do a great job in developing young
ball players.
 
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902-673-2857.

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