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Tournament MVP Ben MacDougall completes natural hat trick while Ty Arsenault experiences winning first regional title
Ben MacDougall accomplished a very rare feat on Sunday while Ty Arsenault experienced a career first.
MacDougall capped his minor baseball career off in style by winning his third straight Atlantic 18-and-under AA baseball championship – something very few players get the opportunity to achieve. He was named the tournament most valuable player after a dominating performance on the mound in the Summerside Township Chevys’ 5-0 win over the Cardigan Clippers in an all-P.E.I. final Sunday morning.
“It’s nice and it’s the end of an era kind of,” said the 17-year-old MacDougall, who previously won Atlantic midget titles with the Chevys in 2017 and with the Clippers as pick-up in 2018. “It’s my last year playing with the Chevys and it’s nice to get it done.”
Arsenault was a key contributor at the plate, driving in three runs with a pair of singles in three at-bats.
“It was my first time winning the Atlantics,” said the 16-year-old Borden-Carleton native, who was competing in his third Atlantic baseball championship. “It is pretty exciting.”
Arsenault said the winning the regional crown on their home field was great, even though there were some tense moments.
“It’s unreal. The whole last inning you are holding your breath waiting for it to be over. You just can’t wait.”
The win in the final capped a perfect weekend for the 2019 provincial-champion Chevys, who went 5-0 and outscored their opposition 42-3 during the tournament. Since Summerside was undefeated, Cardigan would have had to defeat the Chevys twice on Sunday to win the title.
“We had a great weekend,” said Clippers head coach Evan Myers. “Against Summerside, we ran into a tough pitcher in Ben, who has been great all year and pitched really well. We had a great effort, but he was tough to beat.”
The Clippers opened the tournament with a pair of one-run losses before winning the next two games to finish in a three-way tie with the Corner Brook Barons of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia’s Hants North.
“It was a tough way to start it, but these boys, any time all year their backs were against the wall, they came back fighting,” said Myers.
“To win the tiebreaker, we knew we had to score six runs more than Nova Scotia (in its final game) and we went out in the sixth and got nine.”
It turned a 2-2 game into an 11-2 win.
In the final, MacDougall threw a complete-game three-hitter, batted 2-for-3 and scored three runs before a good-sized crowd at Queen Elizabeth Park’s Legends Field.
The Chevys, who scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 walk-off win against the Clippers Friday in the opening game of the tournament, strung together three consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead in the final.
MacDougall started the rally with a single and a base hit by clean-hitter Duncan Picketts put runners on first and second. Nick Havenga followed with a single to centre field that scored MacDougall with the game’s first – and what proved to be the winning – run.
The Chevys added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Dylan Cameron’s sacrifice fly to left field plated Dylan McCormack, who led off with a single, and Arsenault drove in MacDougall, who reached on an infield error.
Arsenault’s two-run single off the first base bag in the fifth inning scored MacDougall and Havenga to close out the scoring. MacDougall led off with a double and Havenga had reached on a fielder’s choice.
“The ball felt it was coming off the bat pretty well,” said Arsenault. “Sometimes you have to have luck on your side to be good and (Sunday) it happened that everything was going for me.”
Jack MacKenzie went the distance on the hill for the Clippers. He allowed five runs, three of which were earned, while recording four strikeouts and walking three.
MacDougall, who hopes to play with the P.E.I. junior Islanders next season and also won Atlantic championships with the Chevys in peewee and bantam, said he relied heavily on his fastball as he consistently worked ahead in the count en route to striking out 10 while issuing two walks. The Summerside native noted the game was closer than the score may indicate.
“You always expect a close game when you go to the final,” he said. “Anything can happen in the Atlantic finals and you have to expect anything.”
Atlantic 18-under AA baseball championship standings and scores:
Summerside (Host) 4 0
Cardigan (P.E.I.) 2 2
Hants North (N.S.) 2 2
Corner Brook (N.L.) 2 2
Fredericton (N.B.) 0 4
Note: With three teams 2-2, a Baseball Atlantic tiebreaking procedure was used involving games only between the three tied teams. Following are the results of the tiebreaker:
Cardigan – .571 runs per defensive innings.
Hants North – .923 runs per defensive innings.
Corner Brook – .928 runs per defensive innings.
Summerside 2 Cardigan 1
Hants North 5 Fredericton 2
Corner Brook 6 Cardigan 5
Summerside 11 Fredericton 1
Cardigan 7 Fredericton 0
Summerside 14 Hants North 1
Corner Brook 4 Fredericton 2
Cardigan 11 Hants North 2
Summerside 10 Corner Brook 0
Hants North 8 Corner Brook 1
Summerside 5 Cardigan 0
Atlantic 18-and-under AA baseball championship awards:
Most valuable player – Ben MacDougall (Summerside Chevys).
Top pitcher – Tyler Taylor (Cardigan Clippers).
Top hitter – Noah Duckworth (Summerside Chevys).
Top defensive player – Eric Fields (Hants North Jays).