© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Wearing their new baseball jerseys, the ARHS Vikings baseball team travels to Hants North Friday to compete in the regional championships. The Vikings were practicing last night at Robb’s Centennial Complex in Amherst. The team is: (front, from left) Connor Hoeg, Joey O’Dell, Josh Lee, Joel Boyle, (back, from left) coach Darren Collins, MacKenzie LeBlanc, Brandon Greeno, Logan Dowe, Matt Beale and Matt Hunter. DAVE MATHIESON – AMHERST DAILY NEWS
AMHERST – After winning the Scotia Schools Athletic Federation regional banner the last two years, the Amherst Regional High School Vikings baseball team hopes to pick up where they left off when they travel Friday to Hants North.
“Pitching is always the key to any baseball tournament,” said Vikings coach Darren Collins. “And we have two very good starters.”
Drew Skinner and Logan Dowe are the aces of the staff.
“Joey O’Dell is a solid third starter and Matt Hunter could see time on the mound, but he will most likely be behind the plate for catching duty,” said Collins.
The Vikings have a mix of younger and older players - five in Grade 12, two in Grade 11, one in Grade 10, and three in Grade 9.
Josh Lee, Matt Beal, Joel Boyle, and Jordy McManaman were all members of the Midget A provincial championship team, and newcomers Brandon Greeno, MacKenzie LeBlanc, and Connor Hoeg were all members of the Bantam A provincial champs.
“This is one of the better teams on paper that I’ve ever had,” said Collins. “But baseball is a game where anything can happen.
“As long as we play solid defense, we have a really good chance.”
The six-team regional tournament features Amherst, Hants North, Pictou Academy, Northumberland, North Nova and CEC.
Collins said the Northumberland Region has proven year after year to have some of the best baseball teams in the province.
“We won the provincials two years ago and had a very strong showing last year,” said Collins.
This year Northumberland Region sends the top two teams to provincials, with the winner having the right to host provincials, which will be held Oct. 12 and 13.
The Vikings play Pictou Academy and Hants North on Friday, with the crossover and championship games set for Saturday.