Champions Drop First Extra Inning Game of the Season
By Craig Richenback
Photo by Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – After an explosion of offence in the middle innings, it was a sacrifice fly that won the game for the Sussex County Miners in extra innings in a rainy Sunday afternoon at RCGT Park.
Juan Duran lifted a long fly ball to left field to bring home Nick Giarraputo with the winning run as the Miners edged the Champions 7-6 in eleven innings.
It was the Champions first extra inning game in the 2017 season, after providing free baseball in a Can-Am League record 17 games in 2016.
“It wasn’t a pitcher’s duel, that’s for sure,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier after the game. “I mean, 29 hits by both teams. But we battled back. Everyone in the lineup had a base hit or more.”
Down 2-0 in the sixth inning, Champions third baseman Gustavo Pierre launched a go-ahead three-run homerun to give his team a brief 3-2 lead.
But the Miners came back with four of their own in the seventh off starter Austin Chrismon, who allowed six runs on 13 hits in 6.2 innings and ended up with a no decision.
In the bottom of the inning the Champions knocked out Miners starter Michael Heesch with three more runs, on a solo homerun by Tyler Nordgren, a sacrifice fly by Sebastien Boucher, and a bloop RBI single by Steve Brown.
Sussex County opened the scoring in the first inning after back-to-back doubles to start things off put runners on second and third.
Chrismon retired the next two batters without incident, but Rubi Silva squeezed a single through the right side to drive in a run and make it 1-0.
A scary incident occurred in the top of the third when Chrismon took a comeback liner by Jay Austin off his head.
Chrismon was down on the ground for several minutes but eventually got back up and continued the game.
“It squared me up good,” said Chrismon after undergoing concussion protocols following the game. “But I’m alright. I felt good enough to go back out there.”
Sussex County scored made it 2-0 later that same inning on an RBI groundout by Juan Duran.
Michael Heesch started for the Miners and allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings, while striking out none and walking two.
Prior to the game Ottawa acquired second baseman Steve Nyisztor from Sussex County in exchange for outfielder Adron Chambers.
“It’s to make a move down the way, probably next week,” said Lanier. “There are certain things we plan to do, we need a veteran spot, and we got a player back that can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield.”
Nyisztor started at designated hitter and went 1-for-6 with a double in his Ottawa debut.
Ottawa opens up a three game home series on Monday against the Rockland Boulders. The Champions will send lefthander Yean Carlos Gil (0-1, 3.78 ERA) to the mound in the opener at 7:05 pm at RCGT Park.