Can-Am League Win Caps Off Festive All-Star Week
By Craig Richenback
Photo by Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – On a night that included a pregame tribute to former Ottawa Mayor Jim Durrell and a welcome message from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was the players who stole the spotlight at RCGT Park.
The Can-Am League defeated the American Association 3-2 on an historic night that marked the first professional baseball All-Star Game played in Ottawa.
The 5000 fans in attendance were in it from the very start and cheered loudly every time the ZOOperstars took the field, led by such acts as Cow Ripken Jr., Tommy Laswordfish, and Mackeral Jordan.
The Can-Am League All-Stars struck first in the first off American Association starter Mark Hamburger as New Jersey Jackals outfielder Johnny Bladel led off with a double and his teammate Brian Burgamy drove him home with a single.
The American Association tied it up in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Wichita’s Matt Chavez, but back-to-back RBI singles by Quebec’s Yordan Manduley and Ottawa’s Danny Grauer in the bottom of the inning put the Can-Am League back on top 3-1.
“I was really pleased with the way my guys played,” said Can-Am League manager Hal Lanier. “But everyone played very well.
“They represented their clubs well, represented the Can-Am League very well, and you saw great pitching from both sides.”
By the time Harry Canary came out to lead the crowd in Take Me Out to the Ballgame there was a palpable buzz in the stadium.
A travel snafu earlier in the day allowed a funny moment to happen in the eighth inning.
With the American Association shorthanded by two players due to the inability of the Lincoln Saltdogs players to get to Ottawa, Champions shortstop Daniel Bick was forced into action on the AA side.
He struck out in his only at-bat but did get to throw out teammate Sebastien Boucher on a 6-3 groundout.
Trois-Rivieres’ Edilson Alvarez pitched one inning for the win while Fargo-Moorhead’s Tyler Alexander took the loss.
Quebec’s Nolan Becker allowed a run in the eighth to make it a one run game but New Jersey’s Johnny Hellweg shut it down in the ninth to pick up the save preserve the win for the Can-Am League.
Grauer was named All-Star MVP after driving in what would be the game winning run with his RBI single in the fourth.