Entering the summer, Greg West was the unlikeliest of candidates to win Nova Scotia’s senior baseball batting title.
It’s not just because he was 36 and had never won a batting title before. The Dartmouth Moosehead Dry veteran also hadn’t played a full season since 2004 and was still feeling the effects of two major injuries — a wrecked shoulder in 2002 and a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2007 — in seven years.
To top it off, he’d retired in 2005 and spent two years coaching in an attempt to reestablish the Sackville Chiefs.
So the fact that the first basemen/left-fielder tore apart the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League with a career-high .451 batting percentage (41 hits in 91 at-bats) was a surprise.
“Maybe they gave me easy pitching,” West kidded.
All kidding aside, West is a key piece of the puzzle for the Dry as they host the Canadian senior baseball championship starting today at Beazley Field and Mainland Common.
“Sometimes with a short schedule, you just get on a roll and feel like you can hit anything,” West said. “That’s kind of how I felt this year. But the real season starts now. It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t do it at nationals.”
West, whose career batting average is around .370, said the two-year retirement helped him realize how much he “missed the game” and motivated him to recover from the Achilles injury. Permanent retirement wasn’t an option.
“I didn’t want to leave like that,” he said. “I’ve played ball my whole life and I didn’t want that to be the end.”
It didn’t hurt that nationals were going to be held in his backyard in 2009. He’s already won two national titles with the Dry and would love to win another at home.
But West won’t be calling it a career when it’s over.
“I haven’t lost any quickness in my bat,” he said. “In this league, I think you can play for a long time — and I plan to.”