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Champions flip script on Hollywood for wild walk-off win

2018 June 19

A heated contest included a manager ejection, three separate comebacks, and Ottawa's first walk-off victory in almost two full seasons.

MIKE NELLIS
 

OTTAWA – Back-to-back balks in the bottom of the ninth put OF Chase Harris in scoring position, and that set up the first Ottawa Champions walk-off win in over two seasons.
 
They beat the Hollywood Stars 5-4 off a sac fly from C Tyler Nordgren that drove in Harris from third base.
 
“It was a win,” said a relieved Hal Lanier after the game. “That’s all we’re concerned about.”
 
The Champions manager applauded his team’s ability to come back, after they did so twice in the same game. Hollywood, the Can-Am League’s newest travel team, had 2-1 and 3-2 leads at separate portions of the game.
 
The game ended up tied 4-4 into the ninth inning, when RHP Zach Williams (L, 0-1) gave up a leadoff infield single from Harris, before the two balks put him 90 feet away from home plate. Nordgren was then able to plate the Ottawa centre fielder for the victory.
 
It was Ottawa’s first walk-off win since August 11, 2016, when C Danny Grauer hit a walk-off three-run home run to beat the Trois-Rivieres Aigles.
 
Hollywood got to the ninth tied after a star-studded performance from RHP Edilson Alvarez to blank Ottawa for three straight frames. From the second inning until the fifth, Ottawa didn’t have a base runner as they tried to solve the former Can-Am League all-star on the mound for the travelling team.
 
Alvarez would get the no-decision after pitching eight innings of solid baseball, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out three.
 
In the top of the eighth, controversy erupted with runners on the corners for the Stars. INF Aaron Stubblefield put a ball in play to INF Daniel Bick at shortstop, and Ottawa appeared to turn two to end the inning. But INF Vinny Guglietti couldn’t handle the throw from second.
 
First base umpire Kevin Scholz originally called Stubblefield, but was corrected by crew chief Matt Beaver. The veteran plate umpire calleed the runner safe, allowing Hollywood to grab a 3-2 lead. Lanier was ejected arguing the play.
 
However, the wheels were then placed back onto the bus and the Champions rebounded to win the game.

LHP Scott Maine (W, 1-0) had the unique distinction of being credited with both the win, and his first blown save of the 2018 campaign. He gave up a game-tying single to INF Brian Luebcke and also was the pitcher of record for the bottom of the ninth when the Champions took the lead for the third and final time.
 
The Champions will get back into action tomorrow night in the second game of a three-game tango with the Hollywood Stars. RCGT Park’s Thursday night tradition continues at the end of this series, with another $1 HOT DOG NIGHT. Tickets can be found at www.ottawachampions.com or by calling 613-745-2255.
 
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