Champions Slug Their Way to Series Finale Win
By Mike Pattison
Photo by Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Champions took the series finale against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles 12-7 on Thursday night.
It was a high scoring affair, which saw the Champions string together ten hits and take advantage of four costly errors by the Aigles defence.
The win brings them to within 1.5 games of the fourth place Sussex County Miners who lost 5-2 to the Quebec Capitales.
"The offence really did their job in the whole series down here after losing the first game," said Hal Lanier, the Champions' manager.
The Aigles got the game started with a bang as Connor Crane launched a leadoff homerun.
The teams exchanged runs in the second. First, Danny Grauer hit an RBI single for the Champions, then Brenden Webb hit one of his own to give the Aigles a 2-1 lead.
Things got wild in the fifth as the two teams combined for eleven runs in the inning. The Champions were responsible for eight of them as they sent thirteen batters to the plate in the inning.
Six batters picked up RBI's in the inning and they chased Aigles' starter Owen Boon (L, 1-3) from the game.
The offensive explosion was enough for Yean Carlos Gil (W, 2-7) to pick up his second win of the season. He needed that run support as he went 5.2 innings allowing seven earned runs on seven hits.
The Aigles scored three in the bottom half of the inning but when the dust settled the Champions had a 9-5 advantage.
Trois-Rivieres managed to make things interesting in the sixth as a wild pitch allowed Webb to score and put Crane in position to eventually score on a groundball. After six innings it was 9-7 for Ottawa.
However, the comeback effort was shortlived as the Champions added three more in the seventh.
With two runners on, Daniel Bick attempted to sacrifice the runners over. But an error on relief pitcher Miguel Lahera's throw allowed a run to score. The next batter, Steve Nyisztor, came through with another single, which scored two more runners.
"I have to give my team credit for not being satisfied with the nine runs and added three more on," said Lanier.
Bobby St. Pierre got the save by pitching the final 3.1 innings, allowing just one hit over that span.
"He did a super job coming in on a cold night like this," said Lanier of St. Pierre's performance.
The Champions return home to RCGT Park on Friday as they open their final homestand of the regular season against the Rockland Boulders. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 7:05pm.