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Miners weather late comeback, edge Champions 5-4

2018 June 17

A three-run blast in the ninth inning wasn't enough to propel the Champions to a victory.

MIKE NELLIS

OTTAWA – Despite a late-game home run, the Ottawa Champions dropped a tight contest to the Sussex County Miners 5-4 Sunday afternoon. The Ottawa loss allowed first-place Sussex County to complete the three-game sweep of the Champions.

Ottawa’s record falls to 9-18 with the defeat, last place in the Can-Am League.

The Miners got out to an early lead with a group of runs at the beginning of the contest. After back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the second inning, the Miners drove in the first run of the game via a sac fly from OF Jayce Ray, which scored INF Nick Zaharion.

In his second time up, Zaharion would contribute offensively again. He drove a double over the head of OF Coco Johnson to bring in two more Miners runs, and it was 3-0 Sussex County after the third inning.

The teams traded runs in the fourth, and the score would remain 4-1 until the ninth inning.

In the aforementioned ninth, C Mike Blanke put the Champions back into the game with one swing of the bat. He clubbed a three-run home run well beyond the left field fence to bring the Champions within a run.

However, the Miners would end the game moments later. RHP Kenny Koplove was entered into the game, and he earned his second save of the season by inducing a Johnson flyout. 

The Miners pitcher removed from the game after Blanke’s jack was the starting pitcher. RHP Cory Jones (W, 3-1) had a solid outing, allowing eight hits and three walks over 8.2 innings.

RHP Austin Chrismon (L, 3-3) was handed the defeat after the Miners’ explosive offence knocked 12 hits off the Ottawa starter. But Chrismon battled through his outing, only walking one batter and allowing four runs. 

When Ottawa returns home, the international series also returns to RCGT Park! Ottawa plays Team Dominican Republic June 19-21, with the Caribbean team re-joining the Can-Am League for a second season. Tickets for this series and the rest of the Champions schedule are available at www.ottawachampions.com, or by calling 613-745-BALL (2255).

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