Aigles ride Hermelyn homer to opening day win over Champions
The Aigles scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning, and a Brown triple in the bottom half of that same inning was not enough for Ottawa.
OTTAWA – The Ottawa Champions took a 5-2 loss on opening day in front of 3,285 fans at RCGT Park at the hands of the Trois-Rivières Aigles.
The Aigles tagged reliver Bobby St. Pierre for four runs in the top of the sixth inning, and a Steve Brown triple in the bottom half of that same inning was not enough for Ottawa.
“We had one bad inning, walks will come back and get you every time,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier following the loss. “You have to tip your cap to their pitcher, he had a very good ball game tonight. We would have liked to win the home opener – we had a good crowd.”
Ottawa’s offense was provided predominantly by DH Sebastien Boucher and Brown. The two, who were batting fourth and fifth in the order, combined for four of the Champions’ six hits on the day, with Boucher also working a walk. C Tyler Nordgren and 3B Jordan Caillouet also earned hits from the bottom of the order.
RHP Jake Hale got the opening day start, but went five innings while throwing only 64 pitches. The inning after Hale was lifted, St. Pierre gave up four runs to the Aigles. Three of the runs came courtesy of a C Anthony Hermelyn home run to left field.
“He was going to throw 65 [pitches],” said Lanier of choosing to pull his ace fairly early in the game. “Bobby came in and walked the first two guys and you’re going to get in trouble when you do that.”
However, the Ottawa bullpen was able to shut down the Aigles following the sixth. RHP Ryan Leach set down Trois-Rivières in order in the 7th and 8th, while LHP Evan Rutckyj struck out the side in the 9th. Despite the bullpens’ performance, the Champions couldn’t rally in the latter innings.
One bright spot for the Champions was their impeccable fielding. Despite an infield was two new players, Ottawa only committed one, hard-luck error on the day. 3B Jordan Caillouet was impressive in the hot corner, making several sliding stops and showing off his strong arm to first. OF Chase Harris also made an incredible catch in centre field, taking away an extra base hit while flying through the air.
The Champions will face the Aigles twice more over the weekend, with games on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.), before they welcome the New Jersey Jackals to RCGT Park for a three-game set starting on Victoria Day.