The 2015 New Brunswick Senior Baseball League opened up play over the May long weekend. In Saturday afternoon action the travelling Charlottetown Islanders swept a pair from the Saint John Alpines, 11-2 and 12-6.
The new look Royals take the field to face the Moncton Fisher Cats, the newly named entry that replaces the former Mets and Brewers franchises. The Royals will send veteran righty Troy Bishop to the mound for the season opener. Bishop will lead the way for what promises to be a new look line up behind him. The entire left side of the Royals defense is gone. Third baseman and team MVP Mike Washburn is currently playing in Quebec and shortstop and defensive wizard Phil “Digger” Merrill has retired. Also gone is hard throwing righty Shawn Reid who has joined the military.
In an effort to regroup the team brought in new additions Aaron Johnson, Jake Shaw and Cory Wood who will be making their debut with the team along with Mackenzie Washburn and Joel Violette who are returning after time away. Johnson, a veteran catcher and MLB draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers will look to guide young hard throwing righty Jake Shaw a Division I NCAA starter and his 94 mph fastball through the senior circuit along with the returning Joel Violette – a long hard trowing righty coming off a season of university ball at UNB. Cory Wood is Fredericton’s most promising and talented 5 tool player coming out of junior baseball and joins the team for his rookie season and Mackenzie Washburn returns to provide depth up the middle and solid bat at the plate.
Back are the core of the team – a group that have won 7 of 9 titles, the hard hitting trio of Dave Barr, Jody Peterson and Chris Sorensen, the ageless Derek Wilson, veterans Corey Stairs & Mark MacNevin and sophomore’s David DeWolfe, Ryan McNeil and Matt McGregor. MacGregor joins Ace Jake Waugh, Bishop, Violette, Shaw and Wilson as members of what is a promising pitching staff.
Gone are 3 of the Royals best players in Washburn, Merrill and Reid but with 5 new additions and a strong core of veterans the goal remains the same – another NBSBL title and 1st choice of pick ups for the 2016 Canadian Senior Baseball Championships being hosted at Royals Field in August 2016.
Action is scheduled to begin at 2:05 Monday afternoon at Kiwanis Park. Catch all the action live on Twitter @FredRoyals with play by play action inning by inning, pitch by pitch. Also tune into the 5th inning stretch and your chance to “retweet” to win a prize from Papa John’s Pizza!