Champions Rally Falls Short in Rockland
By Mike Nellis
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – Five home runs and 29 combined hits were the story in an offensive slug-fest at Palisades Credit Union Park where the Ottawa Champions dropped the final game of their series, 11-8 to the Rockland Boulders.
The Champions found themselves down 6-0 in the first inning, and clawed their way back into the game led by Tyler Nordgren, who went 3-for-5 with two ribbies.
“The first inning really beat us, and we should’ve had two outs on balls that were dropped,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier, commenting on his team’s defence in the first. “I’m just waiting for someone in the bullpen to step up and not give up any runs. Five runs out of the pen isn’t acceptable.”
“We swung the bats well, but again, it’s a loss in our column and we need someone to step up.”
Rockland began the game on an authoritative note, putting up a six-spot in the bottom of the first to take a commanding 6-0 lead on the Champions. Joe Maloney and Jon Smith both had home runs in the inning, with Maloney’s being a three-run shot.
Before the end of the frame, rain began to fall and the game was put into a short rain delay as a band of thunderstorms moved through Pomona.
The rain delay must have given the Champions time to regroup, as they would outscore the Boulders 5-0 in the next four innings.
Nordgren got the Champions on the board with a solo homer to lead off the top of the third inning, and Sebastien Boucher followed him up with a two-run blast over the right field short porch of Palisades Credit Union Park, making the score 6-3.
Ottawa would then string together two RBI knocks in the fifth, with Steve Nyisztor and Boucher coming through with back-to-back hits to bring the visitors within one.
Rockland would take a 9-5 lead into the eighth inning, when the Champions got the bases loaded with nobody out. Nordgren came up with a ground ball single up the middle to make it 9-6.
After a bases loaded walk and another RBI single, the Champions brought themselves within a run again going to the bottom of the eighth.
In that frame, Rockland hit double digit runs courtesy of a Cody Regis solo bomb into the right field bleachers. They added a second run in the inning to take an 11-8 lead into the ninth, where closer Mayckol Guaipe shut the door on the Champions for his 11th save of the season.
Yean Carlos Gil (L, 0-4) was saddled with the loss.
The Champions will take an off-day to re-group tomorrow before opening up a three game series against the Dominican Republic National Team at RCGT Park this Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Daniel Cordero (3-2, 4.38 ERA) gets the ball for Ottawa.