Coquitlam rides no-hitter into final inning to win Canadian Little League baseball title
ANCASTER, Ont. – Led by one of the most dominant performances in the history of the Canadian Little League Championship, the Coquitlam A's captured another national title for British Columbia.
In front of a massive crowd gathered at the Little League Park in Ancaster, Ont., Coquitlam defeated Quebec's Mirabel Diamond 6-3 to claim B.C.'s 14th title in the last 15 years.
Pitcher Matthew Shanley struck out 13 Quebec batters over 4 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball. The 12-year-old also hit a two-run blast in the third inning to help punch Coquitlam's ticket into the Little League World Series.
Timothy Pisantien took the mound in relief of Shanley and quickly finished off the fifth, but a no-out single in a three-run sixth inning dashed Coquitlam's no-hitter dreams.
Everybody, here is your introduction to Canadian little league star Matthew 'Beef Dip' Shanley pic.twitter.com/i1vfxoaDjo—@cbcsports
Coquitlam will now wear the Maple Leaf at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., beginning next Friday, Aug. 16.
"It's incredible," said Shanley. "I didn't think we'd come this far. It's unreal to think that we're now representing Canada in the Little League World Series. It's unbelievable."
All week long, B.C. and Quebec were the dominant teams — both finished with 5-1 records. The championship game was a pitchers' duel to begin, with both sides struggling to produce any offence.
Shanley struck out seven Quebec hitters in a row at one point through the first three innings. Then, in the bottom of the third, B.C. scored the first run of the game as Tori Hutchison crossed the plate off a double by Nolan Loverin.
Matthew Shanley threw 4 2/3 no-hit innings in the Canadian Little League championship game, before reaching the maximum pitch-count @LittleLgeCanada—@cbcsports
A 2-run home run
WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE. pic.twitter.com/XQg78uQSmQ
Shanley followed that up with a two-run shot to right field to give Coquitlam a 3-0 lead heading to the fourth inning. Piasentin hit a three-run blast to centre field in the bottom of the fifth to provide some much-needed insurance.
Shanley left the mound in the fifth after reaching the maximum pitch limit of 85, though not before he struck out his final batter of the night.
"I just wanted to come out here and have fun," Shanley said. "It worked. My teammates helped me out too."
Quebec made it interesting in the final inning with a three-spot, but fell short as the tying run was left on deck.
Little League World Series Awaits
Coquitlam won't be returning to B.C. before heading to the Little League World Series. The team will remain in Ontario before boarding a bus on Sunday and heading south to Pennsylvania.
They'll spend the week practicing on the historic grounds of Lamade Stadium in advance of their first game of the international baseball tournament next Friday first against Mexico.
"I can't even put it into words. I'm so elated and so proud of these 13 young men," said head coach Bruce Dorwart. "Team Canada. We're Team Canada."
Canada has begun shedding its history of Little League World Series struggles the past two years.
Teams from White Rock, B.C. and Surrey, B.C., both made it to the third round of the event. Now it's up to Coquitlam to keep the upwards trend going.
Rich Canadian Little League history
There's a long and rich history when it comes to the Canadian Little League Championship. In 1952, Canada became the first international team represented in the Little League Baseball World Series.
In 1958, the Canadian region was officially created with a tournament established between representatives from Ontario and Quebec, with Valleyfield (Que.) winning the inaugural championship. B.C has dominated over the years, winning a total of 29 times in 54 appearances. The next closest to B.C. are Quebec and Ontario with 13 titles each.
Notable members of past Canadian Championship teams include former MLBers Michael Saunders (Gordon Head Little League, Victoria, B.C., 1999), Adam Loewen (Kennedy-Surrey Little League, Surrey, B.C., 1996) and Jason Bay (Trail Little League, Trail, B.C., 1990).
No Canadian team has ever won the World Series, as the closest Canada ever came was in 1965 when Stoney Creek, Ont., lost in the championship to Connecticut.