Champions Slug Their Way to 8-3 Win in Series Opener
By Mike Pattison
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Champions returned home in victorious fashion on Tuesday night with an 8-3 win over the Dominican Republic National Team.
The Champions hit the ball well all night long and relied on solid pitching from Daniel Cordero and Raydel Sanchez to start the home stand off strong.
Despite a shortened outing, Daniel Cordero (W, 4-2) picked up the win for the Champions. It was his first start since being named Can-Am League Pitcher of the Week and he only allowed two earned runs and struck out seven batters.
"He threw a lot of pitches, but they fouled off a lot of pitches too," said Hal Lanier, the Champions manager. "He wasn't wild, they just battled him."
Luis Nunez (L, 0-4) on the other hand struggled for the Dominican Republic as he went 5.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on ten hits.
Pitching was dominant early on as neither team was able to muster up any offense through the first three innings.
The scoreless tie was broken in the fourth as Gilbert Gomez ripped an RBI double into left field scoring Antony Brito.
Then in the fifth another RBI double from Danny Taveras tacked on another run and the Dominican Republic lead 2-0.
The Champions bounced back in a big way in the bottom half of the inning. After back-to-back singles to leadoff the inning, Ottawa attempted two straight sacrifice bunts. However, there was an error on each play on throws to third base, which allowed Matt Helms and Daniel Bick to score.
"We capitalized on some errors from them but we also got some big hits with runners in scoring position as well," said Lanier.
After a sacrifice fly scored another, Ricky Oropesa hit an RBI double that scored the fourth run of the inning. Just like that Ottawa found themselves in the lead 4-2.
Chris Motta entered the game in the sixth and loaded the bases with two outs. He then walked Danny Taveras and a run came into score. Raydel Sanchez came into the game at that point and managed to escape the jam. It was 4-3 after six.
Ottawa added to their lead in the seventh with two big hits. The first came from Steve Brown who doubled home Boucher, then Grauer singled home Brown to extend the lead to three.
After hitting .565 in seven games last week, Danny Grauer continued his hot streak. He had a pair of hits, including a double, and an RBI during the game.
"He's getting quality at-bats. He's getting his pitch and he's not missing it right now," said Lanier on Grauer's performance of late.
The game was capped off with a Sebastien Boucher two-run shot for his third homerun of the year.
Raydel Sanchez was phenomenal out of the bullpen as he threw 3.1 innings without allowing a run. He also picked up his third save of the season.
The series will continue on Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm.