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MacLaren, Coffin lead squad to series-clinching Game 5 victory in Stratford
Hometown boy Cole MacLaren hit a three-run home run to give Troy Coffin all the offence he would need Wednesday as the Morell Chevies defeated The Alley Stratford Athletics 5-0 to become Kings County Baseball League champs.
The Chevies won the best-of-seven series 4-1.
“This means a lot, bringing (the Ed Clinton memorial trophy) back to Morell,” MacLaren said after the game. “I am one of the only guys from Morell on the team. …
“I have been going to Chevies’ games ever since I could walk down the road,” the 23-year-old catcher said, estimating he lives about 30 seconds from the field. “I was always a Chevies fan ever since I was six years old.”
The Morell Chevies are the Kings County Baseball League champs. pic.twitter.com/kYyaYLvxAa— Guardian Sports (@SportsGuardian) September 17, 2020
Coffin, 41, has been in the league since 1996 when he played with his hometown Pisquid Vipers. When they folded, Coffin followed his cousin Paul Affleck to the Chevies for the 1998 season and has been with Morell ever since. They won the league championship eight times between 2000 and 2010 but hadn’t hoisted the trophy since, losing in Game 7 to the Athletics in 2012 and last year again in the final to Stratford.
“This year we were motivated. We wanted to turn the tide,” said Coffin.
He pitched to contact and allowed his defence to their job in earning three of the wins in the final.
“The boys played unbelievable defence all series,” Coffin said. “I wanted to go out and just give them what I had, finish this off and you saw the seventh inning, they made some big plays to finish this (series).”
The game was scoreless through four innings despite both teams having chances to take the lead.
One of the best opportunities came in the bottom of the fourth after Jacob Smith singled and Adam Smith was hit by a pitch. They both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch before Allister Smith grounded out to second for the first out.
Grant Grady, the league’s regular-season MVP, was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Ryne MacIsaac then pulled a ground ball to first baseman Darcy Affleck, who threw to MacLaren to try to cut down the run at the plate. The throw was in the dirt, but MacLaren stretched and scooped it for the second out.
Jonathan Arsenault hit a hard shot that shortstop Logan MacDougall handled to end the threat.
The Chevies kept momentum on their side in the top of the fifth, breaking through for three runs.
Scott Harper was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. With one out, Stephen O’Shea reached out and tapped the ball where second baseman Allister Smith would have been had Harper not been put in motion.
“That’s a big play,” Coffin said. “We were struggling. Our bats were big all season and we kind of hit a dry spell. We weren’t making contact with runners on. …
“Little plays like that ignite you as a team. That kind of got the rally going again.”
MacLaren then got the pitch he was looking for from Brady Arsenault and hit a line drive off the scoreboard on the other side of the left-field fence. MacLaren pumped his right fist in the air after seeing the ball clear the fence while rounding first base.
“I knew I hit it well, but there was a little bit of a hook to it, so I knew if it stayed fair, it was probably going to be gone,” he said.
The Chevies tacked on two more in the sixth off reliever Jonathan Arsenault.
Coffin went back to the mound with a five-run lead in the seventh. He induced a fly ball to shallow centre field that second baseman Logan Gallant tracked down, a fly ball to shallow left that shortstop MacDougall took care of and a pop-up MacDougall gloved to end the season and clinch a championship.
“Troy has been good all season,” MacLaren said, calling his performance in the clincher “unbelievable”.
“To come out here and throw two shutouts against a great-hitting Stratford team” speaks volumes, the catcher added. “He’s got a great mentality. He’s a bulldog out there and he trust what I want to do. … He never shook me off once.”
MacLaren, the Detroit Tigers’ prospect, was in Florida for spring training prior to the minor league season being shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic. He came home and reached out to the Gallant and league president Lefty Dunn to see if he might be able to play in the KCBL this summer. The league voted to allow him to play.
“I was thankful for those guys to understand my situation and let me get some reps in,” said MacLaren, noting he played with many of the league’s players growing up.
A look at Game 5 of the Kings County Baseball League final.
Morell – 5
Stratford – 0
WP – Troy Coffin. He had a complete-game shutout, scattering five singles and five walks while striking out four.
LP – Brady Arsenault. He allowed three runs on four singles, a home run, four walks and a hit by pitch in five innings. He struck out seven. Jonathan Arsenault allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in two innings of relief. He struck out three.
Scott Harper, 3-for-3 with three singles and was hit by a pitch. He stole a base and scored twice.
Cole MacLaren, 1-for-4 with a three-run home run.
Duncan Picketts, 1-for-1 with an RBI double and a run.
Logan Gallant, 1-for-4 with an RBI single.
Stephen O’Shea, 1-for-2 with a single and a walk.
Logan MacDougall, 1-for-3 with a single, a walk and a stolen base.
Nathan Jones, 0-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base.
Darcy Affleck, 0-for-2 with two walks.
Grant Grady, 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk.
Jonathan Arsenault, 1-for-4 with a single.
Adam Smith, 1-for-2 with a single and was hit by a pitch.
Jacob Smith, 1-for-3 with a single.
MVP – Logan Gallant, Morell.
Silver slugger – RF Scott Harper, Morell.
Golden glove – P Troy Coffin, Morell.