Dillon Doucette’s wait for a medal at the Canadian senior men’s baseball championship is over.
The St. Peters Bay resident earned a golden one Sunday night in Miramichi, N.B., as part of the host Chatham Ironmen squad that defeated the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry 3-2 in an all-Maritime final. It was Doucette’s fourth trip to the senior nationals, but first medal.
“Unbelievable,” the Peakes native said after the game, noting the magnitude of the victory still hadn’t completely sunk in.
“This was a weekend that I’ll never forget, that’s for sure. A great group of guys and fans. Everybody here was all behind us. Coming home with this (medal) is a big one for me.”
Joining Doucette on the Ironmen were a pair of pitching brothers from New Glasgow. Righty Jordan and lefty John Patrick (J.P.) Stevenson, who threw in Sunday’s semifinal against British Columbia, were key contributors.
“To be able to do it with them is huge,” Doucette said. “We’re pretty happy to be able to bring that (medal) back home.”
How they did
A look at the Islanders’ statistics from the Canadian senior men’s baseball championship.
• 1B Dillon Doucette
AB H HR RBI AVG
22 8 2 4 .364
• P J.P. Stevenson
GP IP W L ERA SO BB
2 10 1 0 1.40 11 1
• P Jordan Stevenson
1 4.1 0 0 4.85 5 0
• C Logan Gallant, 1-for-1 with a single.
Doucette played first base and was involved in a couple of the key plays in Sunday’s title game.
He opened the scoring with a solo home run over the left-centre field fence in the second inning.
Dry starter Jeff Reeves got ahead of the slugger 0-2 with a pair of breaking balls.
“I just shortened up and I said, ‘let’s just put a good swing on this’,” Doucette recounted. “He threw me a fastball and my eyes lit up. It was certainly the one I wanted.”
Five-and-a-half innings later, Doucette was called upon for another crucial play. With the Ironmen clinging to a 3-2 lead, Dartmouth was pressing for the tying and winning runs in their final at-bat.
Dartmouth had runners on second and third with two outs when Chris Head pulled one to Doucette’s right.
If the ball got past him, the game would, at least, be tied.
“I took a dive and the ball popped up and it ended up in my glove somehow,” Doucette said. “I had to look in there twice and then I was able to make the throw over to (pitcher) Andrew Case (at first) for the win. And it was just . . . unbelievable.”
The Stevensons didn’t make it into the championship game, but J.P. threw the first five innings of the semifinal. He pitched twice in the tournament with both games coming against British Columbia, the province that had won the past two nationals.
“That semifinal game is one of your biggest games all weekend,” Doucette said. “He’s a gamer and he wanted it big time.”
Doucette didn’t start the tournament raking, going a combined 0-for-8 in the first two games. He said he was seeing the ball well, but nothing was dropping in for him.
The coaches showed their belief in him by sticking with the slugger and he delivered.
Doucette went 5-for-5 in Game 3 on Friday night and carried the momentum with him the rest of the tourney.
“I didn't know how it was going to play out for me. They kept putting me in and I said (to myself) I’m going to make the best of it. It turned out exactly how we wanted it.”
The Ironmen went 4-0 in preliminary play before beating B.C. 3-2 in Sunday’s semifinal.
The second game of the tournament was a 9-8 victory over Alberta that went 13 innings, almost twice a regulation game of seven innings. Doucette played the whole game.
“We had a team that kept fighting back,” he said. “It was unreal.”