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Portelli starts with a bang, driving in game-winner in Champions debut

2018 July 31

Portelli completed a three-day drive from New Mexico in the afternoon.

Mike Nellis

OTTAWA - A new face gave Ottawa Champions fans something to cheer about in his debut game Tuesday night. 

INF Brian Portelli scored the game’s go-ahead runs with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning. The rookie from the Pecos League just arrived earlier in the day, and delivered in his first-career Ottawa at-bat. The Champions took the game by a final score of 3-2.

Portelli completed a three-day drive from New Mexico in the afternoon. He joined the Champions after wrapping up his Pecos season with the Roswell Invaders, and Champions manager Hal Lanier signed him about an hour before game time.

“I told him before the game that I wasn’t going to play him tonight and was going to give him some rest,” Lanier said with a smile after the game. 

But then, Lanier didn’t have much of a choice in the fourth inning. With two runners on, INF Vinny Guglietti was called out on strikes after MJ Beaver, the home plate umpire, ruled he stepped out of the batter’s box after a called strike. Guglietti argued the call, and was ejected.

Portelli was inserted as a replacement, and didn’t disappoint in his first plate appearance.

“He had a good at-bat; he fouled off some breaking balls, took some breaking balls, then hit one for a base hit,” Lanier said, describing Portelli’s go-ahead two-run single. 

The Champions would hold on for the narrow win despite a comeback attempt from the slumping Jackals. New Jersey has now lost nine of their last 10 games.

On the mound, Ottawa’s starting RHP Austin Chrismon gave the team a chance to win with another solid outing. Chrismon tossed six and two-thirds strong innings. His performance was matched for seven innings, but New Jersey RHP Dylan Brammer couldn’t close the deal against Ottawa’s offence.

In the few opportunities the Champions received against Brammer, they made the most of them. OF Michael Hungate launched his first career Can-Am League home run in the fifth inning to open the scoring That was one of the only mistakes the Jersey starter made aside from the Portelli knock in the sixth.

Ottawa continues their series with the Jackals Wednesday, before the first-place Sussex County Miners come to the ballpark for the final time this year on the weekend. Tickets for all Champions home games are available at www.ottawachampions.com, in-person at the RCGT Park box office, or by calling 613-745-BALL (2255). 

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