Champions split double-header to close out series with Miners
OTTAWA – The Ottawa Champions split a double-header with the Sussex County Miners on Thursday, losing the first game 4-1 but completing an impressive comeback in Game 2 against the first-place team.
Once again, the Champions got a solid start on the mound, this time from Jared Mortensen, but couldn’t produce the runs to give him the win.
Mortensen went 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven batters and walking three with three earned runs on four hits.
Champions manager Sébastien Boucher wasn’t happy with his team’s performance in Game 1.
“The first game was not very good,” said Boucher. “We weren’t really good defensively, so we had to adjust between games.”
In the bottom of the second, Malik Collymore grounded out to second but drove in Jiandido Tromp on the play to cut the Miners lead in half to 2-1. Tromp reached third after hitting a fly to right that Mikey Reynolds dropped.
Brandon Downes put the Miners on the board early, driving in Audy Ciriaco in the top of the second to make it 1-0 Sussex County. Downes scored off the next batter after an error from Champions catcher Andy Mocahbee, making it 2-0.
Despite an uncharacteristically bad start from Phillippe Aumont, the Champions overcame an early six-run deficit to take Game 2 by a score of 8-7.
“It didn’t start well for Phil,” said Boucher, “but the guys didn’t give up and they seemed like they wanted to get it back for him. We were fortunate enough to put up enough run and give us that chance.”
Aumont struck out seven batters, but he gave up six runs on seven hits. Meanwhile on offense, Malik Collymore went 3-for-4 with a home run and another stolen base.
“(Collymore) is a good all-around player,” said Boucher. “He can play any position, so I wasn’t worried when we made that decision to move Caillouet. He’s a guy that’s electric when he gets on base, so it’s nice for him to get some hits today and hopefully build that confidence.”
Sussex took an early lead again, putting up three runs off of Aumont in the second inning. Kalian Sams and Brandon Downes each hit RBI doubles, while Brian Mayer hit a single through the gap at third to drive in the third run of the inning. The Miners added another three runs in the third, increasing their lead to 6-0.
Larry Balkwill hit a solo home run to cap off a three-run fourth inning for the Champions, cutting the Miners’ lead to 6-4. Ottawa would score two more runs in the fifth to tie the game before Steve Brown hit an RBI single with the bases loaded in the sixth that drove in two runs.
The Champions start a three-game series against the second-place Trois-Rivières Aigles on Friday before welcoming the Miners back to Ottawa next Tuesday.