2022 Cottage Grove Coyotes go Back-to-Back to Retain TCMABL 18+ Championship
Twin City MABL, 18+ Division
Coyotes 10, Giants 4
Submitted by Hans Heggernes, Coyotes manager
The 2022 Cottage Grove Coyotes of the Twin City MABL won their fifth 18+ League Championship in franchise history (4 in the last 6 seasons) by defeating the Minneapolis Giants by a final score of 10-4. The Coyotes finished their regular season 20-2 (23-2 overall) winning the American Division and securing a first-round playoff bye. The 20-2 regular season record was tied for the best record in the league.
The offensive attack was balanced and a force to be reckoned with all season long. Veterans Jason Eddy (.482 OBP, team leading 7 HR and 14 XBH, team leading 31 RBI, 6 BB, 5 SB); Matt Ruben (.490 OBP, 7 XBH, 9 RBI, 6 BB); Adam Devore (.364 OBP, 4 RBI, 5 HBP, 5 SB); Michael Hietpas (.438 OBP, 1 HR, 3 XBH, 14 RBI, 12 BB, 7 SB); Adam Olson (.368 OBP, 3 RBI, 3 HBP, 5 BB, 3 SB); Matt Grill (.514 OBP, 1 XBH, 7 RBI, team leading 21 BB, 1 SB); Hans Heggernes (.484 OBP, 4 XBH, 18 RBI, 11 BB, 3 SB); and Chris Fleming (.447 OBP, 1 HR, 5 XBH, 22 RBI, 12 BB, 7 SB) led the way offensively and established the tone for getting guys on base and driving them in.
Born again rookie Spencer Scott broke out offensively for the Yotes, compiling an excellent offensive season with both speed and power (Team leading .529 OBP, 2 HR, 6 XBH, 14 RBI, 10 BB, 4 SB). There was never a dull moment when Spencer got on base. He failed to watch Tom Emanski’s Baserunning 101 tutorial.
Second-year players were led by Tony “show-and-go” Mueller (.529 OBP, 2 HR, 11 XBH, 20 RBI, 7 BB, team-leading 8 SB, and an impressive 0 K’s in 68 plate appearances) and All-Star Sam Jensen (.467 OBP, 2 XBH, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SB).
The offense was rounded out with solid performances by veteran backstop Mike Lippert (.286 OBP, 2 XBH, 3 BB, 1 SB); Nate Bochet (.380 OBP, 1 XBH, 4 RBI, 4 HBP, 5 BB, 1 SB); and rookie Nicolas Johnson (.475 OBP, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SB).
Another notable, yet unforgettable Coyote, when not driving a motor home around the country, was David Eddy (.381 OBP, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 4 RBI, 1 SB).
The Coyotes’ pitching staff, handled by Mike Lippert and Sam Jensen, was arguably the best staff in the TCMABL, allowing a league-low 41 runs (35 earned). Veteran Adam Weber (58.1 IP, 3.36 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 37 K,) has been a Yotes staple for years, and 2022 was no different. He pounded the zone, kept hitters off balance, and compiled a solid 8-2 record on the mound.
Jason Eddy (86 IP, 1.06 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 121 K) was a monster on the mound for the Yotes. He compiled an astounding record of 11-0 on the season and dominated hitters all season long.
The Yotes staff was rounded out by Matt Grill (10 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 8 K, 2 wins); Tony Mueller (16.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 22 K, 1 win, 3 saves), and TJ “show up once and never again” Wagner (7 IP, 1 hit, 11 K, 1 win).
After a first-round playoff bye – the Yotes turned on the juice and never looked back. First was the Minneapolis Bombers. With a final score of 15-1, the Yotes hit up and down the lineup and Jason Eddy carved for seven strong innings to run his record up to 11-0 on the season.
The semi-finals featured a matchup of the #1 and #2 seeds in the American Division. After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead after three innings, the Expos were able to plate four runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game. The Yotes answered with one run in the fourth and three runs in the sixth to regain an 8-4 lead. But the Expos weren’t going away lightly, scoring one run in the seventh and three runs in the eighth to tie the game back up.
After nine innings the score was tied 8-8. Veteran Matt Grill came in to relieve starter Jason Eddy after seven solid innings of work, and Grill compiled three scoreless innings to give the Yotes a chance. In the bottom of the 10th, they delivered. With runners on second and third with one out, the Expos had to make a tough choice. They walked veteran Matt Ruben to load the bases to get to the TCMABL’s all-time RBI leader, Chris Fleming. Bad choice, as Fleming delivered with an epic walk-off walk, and a patented bat flip. Final score Coyotes 9, Expos 8.
The championship game featured a young up-and-coming Minneapolis Giants team against the Yotes. Starter Adam Reents pitched well for the Giants, but ultimately the dangerous Yotes bats came to life and chased him out of the game. Staff Ace Adam Weber started the championship game for the Yotes and delivered a solid 6 IP, 4 K, 4 ER performance to earn the Championship game win, before “show-and-go” Mueller came in for the clean three-inning three K save. Final score Coyotes 10, Giants 4.
In three playoff games, the Yotes pounded out 34 runs, 46 hits, 24 RBI, 12 SB, and one Michael Hietpas long-ball to put a cherry on top of the Championship game. In 2023 the Coyotes will look to complete the trifecta and take home their third consecutive league championship! Go Yotes!