Capitales complete series sweep with second straight 9-2 win over Champions
OTTAWA – The Ottawa Champions allowed nine or more runs for the second straight game on Sunday, capping off a series sweep at the hands of the Québec Capitales.
Heath Bowers lasted just three innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits. He struck out four batters and walked three. Andrew Cooper didn’t fare any better in relief, allowing five runs on six hits with just one strikeout over two and a third innings.
Pitching has been the Champions weakness all season long. Phillippe Aumont is the only Champions starter with an ERA under 3.00, with Danny Garcia close at 3.27.
Champions manager Sébastien Boucher isn’t necessarily concerned with the pitching but admits there’s work to be done.
“Obviously it’s something we’re going to have to address,” said Boucher. “Bowers came in for his first start. We were testing him out as a starter but he’s going to be better off in the pen. He’s our best guy in the pen so I mean, we tried something and it didn’t work so we’re going to adjust on that one.”
Boucher took blame for Cooper’s outing, pointing out that he had two scoreless innings before allowing five runs in the sixth.
“I think I might have left him a little too long trying to be a little greedy and not overextend our pitchers,” said Boucher. “It turned out that it didn’t work out for us and that’s something we have to live with at the end of the day.”
The Champions have a day off tomorrow and Boucher said that it’s a “very important” rest day.
“We have a couple guys who are banged up,” he said before mentioning that shortstop Malik Collymore is on the DL with leadoff hitter Eduard Pinto likely to join him in the next couple days. Collymore is dealing with a hamstring injury while Pinto tweaked his groin in Saturday’s loss and is expected to miss 7-10 days.
Steve Brown and Maikol Gonzalez each went 2-for-3 at the plate and Leonardo Reginatto scored two runs.
Brown hit a single to center in the fifth that scored Reginatto and made it 4-2, but Québec would score another five runs the next inning and to put the score to 9-2 and the game out of reach.
Québec regained the lead in the second on Stayler Hernandez’s second RBI of the day, a single up the middle that scored Rian Kiniry. They would score two more runs in the third the make it 4-1.
Maikol Gonzalez tied the game 1-1 after he reached second on an error from Capitales right-fielder Brett Siddall. Siddall tried to scoop up the ball but it trickled under his glove, allowing Gonzalez to advance and Reginatto to score from second.
Hernandez opened the scoring early with a double that stayed just inside the left field line to score David Salgueiro.
The Champions host the second-place New Jersey Jackals for a three-game series and Boucher said someone needs to step up and lead the team if they’re going to beat them.
“I need some guys who are going to take this team and actually lead them into the aggressive team that we’ve been in the past,” he said. “We’ve been a team that’s hungry for hits and hungry for runs and we weren’t this week. We were completely flat.”
Game 1 of the next series is Tuesday at RCGT Park. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.