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Dan Shepard

The Alley Stratford Athletics are off to the Kings County Baseball League finals. It was Saturday night baseball for the deciding game five as Stratford defeated the Morell Chevies in a game five classic. The game had plenty of scoring chances for both teams.

The A’s connected in the top of the first. Two-time batting champ Grant Grady led the game off with a double and scored. Morell replied in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of runs giving the Chevies a 2-1 lead. Dylan McKenna capped off the scoring with a two run single. The A’s tied it on an RBI ground-out by Jon Arsenault.

Stratford regained the lead 3-2 in the top of the fourth on Allister Smith’s base hit. The Chevies played some ‘Billy’ ball or ‘Fiddler’ ball to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom half of the fourth. The first two Chevies reached base. A sac bunt and a ground-out pushed the tying run across.

Stratford scored two huge runs in their fifth. A’s veterans Ryan MacIsaac and Jon Arsenault, who have been mainstays at the top of Stratford’s batting order for numerous years, both singled and both scored to give Stratford a 5-3 lead. A two-out rally saw Morell move to within a single run. Dylan McKenna scored to close the gap to 5-4.

Stratford loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh and were threatening to tack on some insurance runs. Chevies pitcher Ben MacDougall buckled down and struck out the next two Athletics batters to keep the deficit at one. The Chevies loaded the bases in their half of the seventh inning. Winning pitcher Tyler Taylor got the final out, a fly ball to the outfield to give Stratford the series win.

Tyler Taylor got the win tossing a complete game victory. He gave up nine hits and struck out five. Ben MacDougall also pitched a complete game while taking the loss. MacDougall allowed nine hits and struck out 11.

Top batters for the Athletics were Ryan MacIsaac going 3/4, scoring twice and two stolen bases. Shawn MacDougall went 1/1 with three walks. Allister Smith batted 2/3. Logan Gallant led Morell at the plate going 4/4, with a double. Dylan McKenna went 3/4 with three RBIs. Logan MacDougall went 2/4.

Morell will not be able to defend their title, however, this team has worked its way back to being a solid contender for championships for the next number of years. They have brought some gritty veterans and youths to the game. Congrats on a fine year.

It will be Stratford’s eighth straight appearance in the KCBL finals. They will now meet the Peakes Bogside Bombers in the finals. Brady Arsenault and Tyler Taylor pitched the entire series against Morell and both were outstanding. Jordan Stevenson will be a big plus in the pitching department for Peakes They also have Jack MacKenzie, Dillon Doucette, Rob Phelan and Josh Coffin. Both teams have solid batting throughout the lineup. Peakes won three of four in regular season play.

Game one was Tuesday night in Stratford.

Several players from both teams played with the Charlottetown Islanders in the New Brunswick senior league. Both leagues want to send out their best teams so the KCBL will work around the set schedule put out by the NBSBL.

The Islanders play this Wednesday and if a sixth game is necessary it will be played on Sunday. The KCBL Facebook fan page will give updates on future games.

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