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These Hitmen are being targeted

Shane Boland of Goulds is shown homering for Canada in a game against the Domincan Republic at the world men’s softball championship in Whitehorse last month. Boland is one of six national team members from Newfoundland on the roster of the Galway Hitmen, who opened defence of their Canadian championship with two emphatic wins Wednesday afternoon in Saskatoon. Boland homered in Wednesday's opener, too.
Shane Boland of Goulds is shown homering for Canada in a game against the Domincan Republic at the world men’s softball championship in Whitehorse last month. Boland is one of six national team members from Newfoundland on the roster of the Galway Hitmen, who opened defence of their Canadian championship with two emphatic wins Wednesday afternoon in Saskatoon. Boland homered in Wednesday's opener, too.

The Galway Hitmen got new uniforms before leaving St. John’s for Saskatoon and the Canadian senior men’s fastpitch championship earlier this week.

The new duds, as usual, feature numbers on the back, but there easily could have been bullseyes, too.
With Newfoundland teams having won the last five nationals — three under the 3Cheers banner and the last two as the Hitmen — they know the other teams in the tourney will be gunning for them each time they take the field.
“Every team absolutely wants to knock us off this pedestal, whether its on the first day or in the playoffs and we have a chip on our shoulder when it comes to that … we’re determined not to let it happen,” said Hitmen head coach Mark Dwyer.
 “We’re not going to settle. We’re not going to rest on our laurels and say we have a roster full of guys from the national team and that will be enough just to roll to another one.
“We have too much pride in our game and in our province we care too much about playing hard for each other and for our sponsor to let that happen.”
“We know we’re going to be challenged and we’re up for that challenge.”
The Hitmen lived up to Dwyer’s words on Wednesday in their tournament openers as they downed two Saskatchewan teams in games ended by the 10-run mercy rule. In their opener, the Hitmen downed the Petro Hawks 12-2 iand followed up with a night-time 12-0 shellacking of Chetty’s Pretty Boys.
In Galway’s first game, winning pitcher Blair Ezekiel struck out a half dozen batters and allowed just two hits. He also helped himself by driving in two runs.
Mathieu Roy of Quebec, the lone out-of-province pickup in the Galway lineup, scored three runs and had three RBIs, a couple coming on a fourth-inning homer. Shane Boland, who also homered, and Jason Hill each had two RBIs.
In the second contest, Brad Ezekiel and Nick Pittman hit long shots, the latter a three-run blast, to help back Hill’s pitching effort, which saw him scatter four hits while striking out eight and not giving up a walk.
Roy, who scored three runs; Ryan Boland, who scored twice; and Fergie Griffiths each had two hits for Galway.
The Bolands, Brad Ezekiel and Hill are two of six Newfoundlanders on the Hitmen roster Colin Walsh and Stephen Mullaley are the others) who are members of the national senior team as the province continues to enjoy a fastpitch heyday that has stretched out for years.
Dwyer believes softball in Newfoundland is experiencing the sort of sunny period as hockey did a few years ago when there were six or seven players from the province skating in the NHL.
“The same is happening for softball in Newfoundland now,” he softball. “We spent 40 years chasing a Canadian championship and now we have all these superstar players at the same time.
“We want to take advantage of it. We should take advantage of it, not really about worrying how long this run will last, but just focusing on winning another one here.
“But I’ll tell you what, five straight Canadian championships… we feel that’s not enough for us. We feel this team is capable of 10, we really do.”
The Hitmen took on another Saskatchewan team, the Chetty’s Pretty Boys in a Wednesday-night match, The results were not available at The Telegram’s press deadline.
The team plays twice more again today, against the Nova Scotia Mastodons, who won twice on Day 1, and the Desilse, Sask., Diamond Dogs.

bmcc@thetelegram.com


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