A Pair of Champions Debut as Rockland Sweep Doubleheader
By Mike Pattison
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – The Rockland Boulders took both games of the doubleheader and completed the series sweep with a 5-3 win, followed by a 3-2 win in extra innings.
"We're just not swinging the way I want us to," said Hal Lanier, the Champions manager.
Phillippe Aumont made his Champions' debut as he started the second game of the twin bill. Despite his performance, Ottawa could not muster up enough offense to pick up the victory.
In game one, the Boulders opened up the scoring in the second with a two-run homer off the bat of Mike Montville.
Ottawa tacked on their first run of the series in the bottom-half of the inning.
In the next inning, Steve Brown cranked a two-run shot of his own over the left field wall. It was Brown's second homerun of the season. It was 3-2 after three innings.
Things were scoreless for a couple of innings until Boulders' shortstop Mike Fransoso drove in a run in the sixth. They tacked on another run in the inning to lead 4-3.
The Boulders added an insurance run in the seventh, off a fielder's choice that scored Joe Bennie. The score was 5-3, and would turn out to be the final.
Champions' starter Pat Peterson (L, 0-3) was pulled from the game in the inning after going 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits.
C.J. Riefenhouser (W, 2-1) picked up the victory for the Boulders as he gave up three earned, while only allowing three hits in five innings of work.
Game two was a low-scoring affair. Both Phillippe Aumont and Boulders' starter Bo Budkevics pitched quality games.
Aumont did not disappoint in his highly anticipated debut. He went six innings while only allowing five hits. He frustrated batters all game long as his pitch speed was averaging around 93-95mph. He struck out nine batters and even struck out the side in the fifth inning. His only blemish came in the sixth.
"I was confident and went out there and did my thing," said Phillippe Aumont. "Grauer was phenomenal behind the plate and I was just riding him."
Bo Budkevics was strong as well as he went six innings, only allowing one earned run on four hits.
Offense was hard to come by, but Ottawa was able to find a spark from their newest signee, Tyson Gillies.
In the third, Gillies struck for the first run of the game as he drove a ball up the middle to score Matt Helms from second. It was Gillies' first hit and RBI in the Can-Am League.
The Boulders got to Aumont in the sixth. Dylan Tice drove in a run with his second hit off of Aumont, scoring Joe Bennie. The next batter, Mike Fransoso, put a charge into one that carried over the right field wall. Just like that Rockland took a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, a clutch hit from Danny Grauer tied the ballgame. A pinch-running Brandon Fischer came into score and the Champions forced extra innings.
Rockland responded immediately, as Jared McDonald hit an RBI single off Champions' closer Victor Beriguete (L, 0-1). The Boulders took a 3-2 lead and would not let it slip away.
Despite giving up the game-tying run, Alex Farina (W, 1-0) picked up the win.
"Someone has to step up and get a big base hit and no one is able to do that right now," said Lanier. "We've got to play a better brand of baseball and hopefully it'll change starting tomorrow."
The Champions will head to Quebec City tomorrow to take on the Capitales. It will be their first series against the Capitales this season, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm.