Capitales’ Seventh Inning Comeback Spoils Champions Perfect Spring Training
Ottawa, ON – A late inning revival by the Quebec Capitales handed the Ottawa Champions a 6-5 loss in their final spring training game of the 2017 schedule.
It was the Champions' first look at a Can-Am League opponent and was a fairly even matchup offensively and on the mound.
A two-run seventh inning from the Capitales handed the Champions their first loss of spring training in the first game under the lights at RCGT Park.
The Capitales struck early as Kalian Sams ripped a double down the left field line that scored one in the first. Fortunately for starter Daniel Cordero that is all he would allow despite allowing three doubles in the inning.
But it didn’t take the Champions very long to respond. Adron Chambers and Brian Bistagne led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back doubles. Bistagne's RBI double tied the game, but Capitales starter Joseph Maher settled down and got out of the jam.
Ottawa took the lead in the third inning by sending eight batters to the plate and putting three more runs on the board. Steve Brown, Ricky Oropesa, Gustavo Pierre each hit RBI singles off former Champions' pitcher Jaspreet Shergill to make it 4-1.
Fans saw their first homeruns in RCGT Park this year, but they came off the bats of two Capitales. Jordan Lennerton and Kalian Sams hit back-to-back big flies to lead off the fourth inning and cut the deficit to one.
"It's out over the plate. You got to keep the ball down and hopefully that happens on Thursday," said Champions manager Hal Lanier. "You learn by your mistakes."
The Champions added another run in the bottom half of the fourth, increasing their lead 5-3. Bistagne hit a fly ball to centre field that was dropped by Sams, allowing Adron Chambers to score his third run of the game.
The back and forth affair continued into the fifth as the Capitales struck for one run with the bases loaded due to a throwing error to first. However, relief pitcher James Mulry was able to get out of the bases-loaded jam with a 3-2-3 double play and a pop out, maintaining a 5-4 lead.
With the crowd anxious for the win and closer Raydel Sanchez in the game, Maxx Tissenbaum drove an RBI double to the centre-field wall to tie the game. Jordan Lennerton then connected with a line-drive base hit to score the go ahead run.
Sanchez (0-1) was saddled with the blown save and the loss for the Champions.
Despite the outcome, Hal Lanier been impressed by his team's performance and is looking forward to the regular season.
"I'm sure everyone is going to be excited about the opening game and hopefully we swing the bats the way we have been."
Lanier has named Champions ace Austin Chrismon the opening day starter.
The Champions will get the regular season underway on Thursday, May 18th at 7:05pm against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles.