Coddington beats the odds again for Dragons
Lightly regarded catcher drives in the winning runs in Dayton’s 7-5 victory.
By Marc Katz
12:50 AM Sunday, May 10, 2009
DAYTON — You don’t get many big-time players out of the 44th round of baseball’s annual first-year player draft.
You get afterthoughts and the children of the friends of someone in the front office, players with little chance to advance to the majors, given $1,000 or $2,000 bonuses and a ticket to dream away the summer.
And sometimes you get Kevin Coddington.
Saturday night, May 9, Coddington’s double to deep center drove in three of Dayton’s four runs in the seventh inning as the Dragons came from behind to beat Kane County 7-5 at Fifth Third Field.
Dayton, struggling to win any game in the Class A Midwest League, held a 3-1 lead behind starter Curtis Partch in the sixth, but Dusty Coleman cranked a two-out, two-run homer, then the Cougars tacked on two more runs in the seventh, partially because Coddington provided an extra baserunner with catcher’s interference.
In the bottom of the inning, he more than made up for the goof as Coddington raised his season’s batting average to .359 with his second hit of the night.
Coddington was supposed to be a backup on this team, a guy who made the club because of his defense, but with little prior history of being an offensive threat.
“I had one scout in spring training tell me he had the best arm he’d seen in all the camps,” Dragons manager Todd Benzinger said. “Yet he wasn’t supposed to make this team.”
Coddington, from West Linn, Oregon, wanted to play at either of his home state’s two Pac-10 schools, but neither Oregon nor Oregon State wanted him. He went to junior college, then to Illinois-Chicago in the Horizon League for one year after which he was drafted and opted to turn pro.
Last year, Coddington hit a combined .277 at two rookie levels, but with little power — no homers and seven RBIs in 112 at-bats. He went to spring training hoping to make the Dragons, which he did, along with Jordan Wideman — another defensive specialist who is now on the disabled list.
“He’s a great catcher,” Benzinger said of Coddington. “He’s got a great arm, and he’s serious about baseball. He’s got good makeup.”
He can hit a little bit, too.