Champions make late push but fall 4-3 to Boulders
OTTAWA – Maikol Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with two RBIs but the Ottawa Champions lost the first game of a three-game series 4-3 to the Rockland Boulders on Tuesday.
Gonzalez drove in his second RBI of the night in the bottom of the ninth to make it 4-3 Boulders, but that’s as close as the Champions would come.
Ottawa manager Sébastien Boucher was not impressed with his team’s effort.
“It was a terrible game,” said Boucher. “We played very bad, we had no energy. We had no life on defense, no life on offense.”
“We get to the first game of a series and kind of take it lightly a bit and that’s something we’re going to address tomorrow for sure.”
Grant Heyman made 4-1 in the top of the eighth for Rockland, driving in Mitch Piatnik and Cito Culver with the bases loaded.
Steve Brown hit a sac fly to center that scored Maikol Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth that made it 4-2 but Jordan Caillouet grounded out at the next at-bat to end the inning.
Gonzalez opened the scoring in the third with an RBI single but was thrown out trying to get to second.
Phillippe Aumont (1-1) threw six strikeouts over 5.2 innings for Ottawa. He gave up two earned runs and allowed 10 hits and two walks.
Boucher said Aumont was a little off but still threw a decent game.
“He didn’t have his best stuff,” said Boucher, “but he still went out there, competed and still put out a good performance, really. When you give up 10 hits in 5 2/3 and only give up two runs, it’s not the start that I would want but it was still a good fight for him.”
Aumont agreed with his manager’s assessment.
“Yeah, I just didn’t have the best stuff,” said Aumont. “It wasn’t as sharp as it was the first couple starts but I battled and tried to get off the field with the zeroes behind my back.”
The Champions had a number of opportunities to put some runs on the board but failed to capitalize, leaving runners stranded in scoring position multiple times.
Boulders starting pitcher Reinaldo Lopez (1-0) threw three strikeouts, allowing five hits with two walks and an earned run over five innings in his Rockland debut.
Earlier in the day, the Champions released RHP Chad Martin with the impending return of reigning Can-Am pitcher of the year Jordan Kurokawa.
Game two of the series is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at RCGT Park.