Three Ottawa Champions players to participate in Pan-Am Games
OTTAWA – Three players from the Ottawa Champions have been selected to participate in the Pan-Am games in Lima, Peru from July 27 to August 4.
Pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Evan Rutcykj will represent Canada while outfielder Steve Brown will play for Colombia. It will be the first Pan-Am games for all three players.
Aumont, a Gatineau, Que. Native, is sporting a 4-2 record on the season. In the entire Can-Am league, the former major-leaguer’s 55 strikeouts and four wins each rank second, while his 2.02 ERA ranks fourth. Aumont is also the only Champions pitcher to record a shutout so far this season.
“It means everything,” said Aumont. “You get to put on the red uniform and get to compete internationally, which I think is the biggest pride you an carry. It’s definitely an honor to go back, defend and win it all again.”
Rutckyj has been one of Ottawa’s most dominant relievers this season with a 2-2 record and 1.97 ERA over 13.2 innings. His nine walks are tied for second-fewest of all regular relief pitchers after the departure of Zach Vennaro and his 1.24 WHIP is second among active relievers.
“Honestly, I’m blessed,” said Rutckyj. “Any time you get to wear the flag across your chest and represent your country is an honor. Especially after 2015 when we won, looking at the squad we have this time I think we can do it again.”
Rutckyj and Aumont won gold for Canada at the last Pan-Am Games in Toronto in 2015 but weren’t teammates. This time, it’s a little more special for them.
“I’ve known Phil for a really long time, he’s been like a mentor or older brother to me,” said Rutckyj. “The last time we went, we weren’t teammates, so it’s pretty cool to have two guys going from the same team.”
Brown has been the Champions’ best and most consistent hitter all season. His .347 batting average is third among all regular Can-Am league batters. His 34 hits are fifth among Champions batters but in 28 fewer at-bats than team leader Leonardo Reginatto. Brown leads all Ottawa hitters in batting average (.347), on-base percentage (.429) and slugging percentage (.490) in just 119 plate appearances.
“It’s very nice to represent my country,” said Brown. “I’m looking forward to going there to keep doing what I’m doing here in Ottawa and help my country win the Pan-Ams.”
Brown, who was also at the 2015 Games, admits that his teammates’ victory gives him a little extra motivation to beat them this time around.
“It’ll be fun to play against two teammates,” said Brown, “but at the same time, I have my blue, yellow and red and they’ll have their red and white so it’s going to be different. They beat us in 2015 but I think we have a good team this year so let’s see what happens.”