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the Mudcats are already ready for the playoffs

The season ends Sunday in the New Brunswick Junior Baseball League and the Metro Mudcats (10-7), a subsidiary of the Moncton Fisher Cats, remain in first place.

The manager of the young troop, Jim House, was good enough to give us a few minutes Thursday a few hours from a double program, in a sequence of five games in five days to catch up with the games postponed by the rain.

If the regular season of this league ends early, it is because several players of this caliber will soon evolve in American colleges and universities which begin their activities in August.

“We want to make sure we have the best talent on the pitch for the whole season,” summarizes the coach.

Like the senior league, the junior league has exceptional parity between the four teams that make it up. If the Metro Mudcats are in the lead, it is only with a slight lead over the Fredericton Junior Royals (9-9) who are hot on their heels.

“We are where we want to be, summarizes House. We will have the opportunity to confirm our first place at the end of the week. It would help us a lot as we are very comfortable at home on the synthetic turf at Kiwanis Park.

“It has been more difficult this season with all the games postponed by the rain. It also reduced the time spent on training sessions. For the past two weeks, the guys have greatly improved their game. It looks promising!” exclaims the pilot of the Barbottes métropolitaines.

“Any team can beat any other this year,” House said.

“It may be cliché, but it is the reality. You can dominate a team one evening, then immediately lose the next day against the same team. It’s very tight and the home field advantage could be very important during the playoffs.

Fredericton was just one game behind the Mudcats at the time of this writing, heading into the doubleheader against the Miramichi Junior Ironmen (7-8) who are two games behind in fourth and last place in the standings.

The Mudcats offense rests on the shoulders of several hitters.

“Nick (Nicholas) Richard is having a solid season for us as a starting hitter. He hits .333, which puts him fifth in the line. Jake (Jacob) Green is a rookie coming from the U18 program. He hits for .342 average. Nick St. Pierre (.286) is also doing very well.

Kent South’s Nick Dupuis has also been productive when he shows up for games. He is averaging .342 in 12 games. “Unfortunately he is working on roofs this summer. So I sometimes receive a text message in the afternoon during the hot weather telling me that he is too exhausted to take part in the match, ”explains Jim (James) House with empathy for his young protege.

On the mound, House counts on Kevin Aubé, Nick St. Pierre and Josiah Coombs as starters.

“Kevin Aubé of Dieppe has been one of the best pitchers in the province for five or six years. It’s probably our ace right now. Nick St.Pierre – another rookie in the U18 program – has also been outstanding so far.

“Josiah Coombs throws very consistently. With these three, we have a combination that hits hard for the series, ”summarizes House.

Aubé, Coombs and St. Pierre also lead the league’s “first throw strike percentage” category, with 60.4%, 60.2% and 59.7% respectively.

End of busy schedule

In addition to Thursday’s doubleheader, the Mudcats lost 8-7 on Wednesday against the Saint-Jean Junior Alpines. Friday, they will be in the capital to face the Royals juniors (7:30 p.m.), then Sunday, they will go to Miramichi (1:30 p.m.) to dispute the victory with Ironmen juniors in closing.

“It’s a big challenge. We’ve had a lot of sore arms (throwers) this season. We try to manage the departures so that they have the opportunity to rest well. The rain also affected training so we had less time to correct weak points.

“Fortunately, we will have a 10 day break when Fredericton (defending champion) goes to the national championship. We will then have the opportunity to conduct training to correct our weak points, explains Jim House. Our hitters are continually improving and our pitchers are solid. We have confidence for the playoffs.”

This season’s New Brunswick playoff champions qualify for the 2023 Canadian Championship.

The 2022 Championship (U22) takes place August 4-7, in Dartmouth and Halifax.

In brief… Mudcats players Kevin Aubé and Olivier LeBlanc already have senior entries with the Fisher Cats. Aubé was called up for one game this season, where he had three at bats. LeBlanc, for his part, is more regularly on the team’s official roster, where he practices his receiving skills in the bullpen…


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