Bad luck continues for U18 Astros at nationals

Kristen McEwen
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The U18 Astros were down a player when they lost their Thursday afternoon game 11-3 against Ontario’s Port Perry Lake Scugog Lumberjacks at Gander, Nfld.  

Second baseman Noah MacPherson broke his hand when he slid head first into first base during their morning game against the Saskatoon Westside Selects, which they also lost 10-3. 

Coach Robyn Nagy said he was absent for the rest of the afternoon, gone to the hospital for treatment.

“He was doing pretty well, pretty good defensively and he was a good part of our hitting,” Nagy said. “That was kind of a big loss.”

In MacPherson’s place is utility player Kennedy Boldt. With only 12 players left on the roster, the Astros can’t afford any more injuries for the rest of the tournament. 

“You’re down one more player, for lots of games it’s very emotional,” Nagy said. “Mentally you have to be so prepared knowing you can’t get hurt.”

She said the team has been struggling with tight muscles, with one player being taken to physiotherapy.

“All around it was a tough day, we didn’t play like we needed to,” Nagy said.

Going into tomorrow’s games against the host team Newfoundland Selects and Ontario’s Tavistock Athletics, the Astros will be focusing on defense and bringing home runners on base.

“We left a rough estimate of 40 runners on base,” Nagy said. “That’s a lot of missed opportunities.”

“Those (runners) would have been turned a lot of our losses into wins,” she added.

The Astros are sitting at 2-4 in their series at the 2014 U18 Men’s Fast Pitch Canadian Championship.

Astros’ pitcher Nick Patrick is in the second spot on the leaderboard for most strikeouts with 29 in the championship series as of Thursday afternoon. He sits behind Alex Anthony of the Nova Scotia Elks with 34. Patrick is also tied for third for the most wins at two.

U16 Astros’s winning streak broken at 2014 U16 Canadian Championship

Ontario’s Wellesley Wildcats broke the Astros three-game winning streak with a score of 3-2 on Thursday afternoon in Fredericton, N.B.

“It was a pitchers duel, there weren’t many hits,” coach Andrew Kutnikoff said, noting both sides struggled to score runs.

Astros’ pitcher Matthew Kutnikoff, had seven strikeouts during the game and Wildcats’ Nathan Robitaille had 11.

The game was close, with both teams leaving a total six runners on base during the game.

The Astros took an early lead of one at the top of the first. Astros’ Ryley Hawkswood was walked and advanced to scoring position after Wildcats catcher had two pass balls. Astros’ pitcher Matthew Kutnikoff had an RBI single, bringing Hawkswood home.

The Wildcats scored a run at the bottom of the third and again at the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. The Astros scored at the top of the seventh to tie the game. A Wildcats RBI double in the bottom of the inning won the game.

“There was a bit of dejection,” coach Kutnikoff said in reference to the players’ reaction to the loss. “We have a really big game tomorrow morning so hopefully they can bounce back and still take first in our pool.”

U16 Astros clobbered the Nova Scotia River Rats 17-4 during their Wednesday evening game.

The Astros brought in five runs in the first inning, four runs in the second, three in the third and five in the fifth.

At the top of the second inning, Kutnikoff hit a three-run home run to bring Ryley Hawkswood and Reid Manson in to score.

The Astros held the River Rats scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Kutnikoff gave up four runs.  

Kutnikoff pitched a near perfect four innings, giving up one hit, and walking a runner in the bottom of the first and walking another in the bottom of the third.

Though their game against the River Rats lasted past midnight, the Astros defeated Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Thunder Birds 14-7 at their 8:30 a.m. game on Thursday.  

“We started pretty slow, we only had three or four hours of sleep so we were a little tired,” coach Kutnikoff said. “But in the fifth we scored those 10 runs to get us out of the game, which is awesome.”

At the top of the fifth, the River Rats brought in four runs, taking a 7-4 lead. The Astros needed three to tie and four to win. With two away, the team already had brought in the four runs needed to win. The team continued to keep swinging bringing in a total of six more runs including a two-run home run by Kutnikoff to finish the game.

The Astros are now 3-1 in the championship series.

Matthew Kutnikoff is also making a splash on the championship leader board, placing in the top five spots for most home runs, highest batting average, RBIs, most strikeouts and wins as of Thursday afternoon.

“He’s really pitching well and really hitting,” coach Kutnikoff said. “He’s been a key player for us so far in our games.”

“It’s awesome to see someone that young pitching so well, especially at the top level,” he added.

Matthew is also coach Andrew Kutnikoff’s younger brother.

Matthew Kutnikoff holds the top spot for most strikeouts at 17 and tied for third for most wins with one. He also holds the second spot in RBIs at eight and fourth in home runs at two.

He and fellow teammate Blaze Arcand are also tied for the fourth spot in leading batting average with .636.

Organizations: Astros, Wildcats

Geographic location: Ontario, Nova Scotia River, Fredericton

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