The number 8 was a great one for the Fredericton Royals Friday night as the 13-2 win over the Moncton Mets marked their eighth in a row.
That wasn’t the only significant 8 that night. The Royal who dons the number eight jersey had himself one heck of a game.
Rookie Cody Wiggins made his first start in the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League and he was fantastic going six innings, giving up one run on eight hits, while striking out one.
“Fantastic,” said manager Mike Lint. “Couldn’t ask for more out of Cody tonight. He went six innings and only threw 90 pitches. We weren’t really sure what to expect, obviously he’s on the team for a reason, because he’s good enough to pitch here.”
Being a 22 year old pitching at this level, some rookies might feel over matched and try and overthrow, but that wasn’t the case with Wiggins Friday night. While he didn’t strike out many batters, he used all his pitches and pinpoint command to keep the Mets’ batters off balance. At the start of the game veteran Derek Wilson had a lengthy conversation with Wiggins at the mound.
“He was telling me to stay on top of the ball, my pitches were a little high,” said Wiggins about the meeting with Wilson. “Live low.”
“A lot of guys coming up from junior think that they have to throw harder, whether it’s to try and prove themselves or whatever it might be,” said Lint. “Maybe once in the lineup you might sneak a few fastballs by a guy. In senior baseball, especially in this province, with the calibre of hitting in this league you’re not going to throw balls by guys too often.”
Leading the charge for the league’s top offense was Mike Washburn, who was 3 for 4 with a home run, double and 6 RBIs and Dave Barr chipped in a 3 run home run.
“It was unreal, the boys made it real easy to pitch tonight,” said Wiggins about the run support he got.
Lint knows that the offense won’t be able to carry the team all season, and since the pitching has been subpar to date, it was refreshing to get a quality start out of Wiggins.
“Our pitching hasn’t been that great this year so far, we are giving up an average of about six runs a game. I think Cody showed everybody all you have to do is hit your spots and throw strikes.”
“We will push this win streak as long as we can. I gave the boys a blast after the Saint John game, and one of the boys jokingly said, ‘how can you be mad, we won seven in a row’.
Well, we probably didn’t deserve to win six of those seven. I’ve said for years now, and I say it again this year, with this team, in this league, there is only one team that is going to beat us and that’s us.
The Royals are back at home Sunday night at 7 pm as they play arch rival the Chatham Ironmen.
Thursday in Saint John:
Fredericton Peterbilt DQ Royals beat the Saint John Alpines 7-6.
Saint John held a 5-1 lead going into the fifth inning but allowed a three-run shot to Matt Stairs to make it 5-4. The Alpines scratched another run out to take a 6-4 but a solo blast by Chris Sorensen and a two-run shot by Jody Peterson — his second of the game — was the difference.
Saint John saw their record fall to 9-4 while Fredericton improved to 10-2, winning 7 in a row to remain on top of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League.
Fredericton scored seven runs on 12 hits while the Alpines had six runs on 10 hits. Joel Arbeau came on in relief of Troy Bishop to get the win for Fredericton and Derek Wilson earned the save. Brooks Saunders went the distance for Saint John and was tagged with the loss. Neil Jeffrey hit a homer for Saint John.