Champions Stun Jackals Twice Off Oropesa Grand Slam
By Mike Pattison
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Champions took their third straight game over the New Jersey Jackals on Saturday night with a 6-5 win.
Ricky Oropesa was the hero for the Champions as he launched a grand slam in the eighth inning to hand his team the lead and eventual win.
Down 5-2 at the time, with the bases loaded and two outs, Ricky powered one over the wall. Clutch hitting has been the key to the series for Ottawa and it continued once again with Oropesa's homer.
"What a great comeback for us, what a great win for us," said Hal Lanier, the Champions manager.
Some strong work in the bullpen from Adam Eggnatz (W, 1-0) and Jared Price preserved the one run lead and they were able to carry them to victory.
Lanier was quick to praise his bullpen's effort.
"Eggnatz put up zeroes and Price picked up his first save, going two innings after going two innings last night."
The two teams completed their carry-over game from Friday night starting in the ninth inning. The Champions tacked on two runs in the inning and officially took the game 11-3.
The Jackals once again were the first team to take the lead by grabbing a run in the second inning. However, it could have been much worse than it was. The Jackals managed to load the bases twice in the inning but could only score the one run off Champions' starter Matt Tulley.
However, the Champions had their bats going early as well as the leadoff hitter reached base in the first three innings of the game.
They managed to get one of those runners home in the third thanks to an RBI double from Steve Nyisztor, one of two RBI's on the day for him.
However, in the bottom half of the inning Conrad Gregor launched a moonshot over the right field wall. It was gone as soon as he made contact for his ninth homerun of the season. It was 2-1 after three.
The back and forth affair continued in the fifth as both teams would again trade runs in the inning.
First, Nyisztor connected for his second RBI of the game, this time an RBI single.
Then, the Jackals converted on a sacrifice fly to regain the lead. It was 3-2 after five.
Things began to look out of reach for Ottawa when the Jackals' Rylan Sandoval hit a two-RBI double to in crease their lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth.
That was until the Champions loaded the bases in the eighth and Ricky Oropesa drove them all home with one swing of the bat. His fourth homer of the year propelled the Champions in front 6-5.
"We really swung the bat well tonight," said Lanier on his team's offensive performance. "We hit the ball really hard and right at people, we got some base hits and capitalized on an important error as well."
The Champions will look for the sweep of the four-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05pm and can be seen on CanAmLeague.tv.
Tickets for the 2017 regular season and Can-Am League vs. American Association All-Star Game are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.ottawachampions.com or in person at the RCGT Park box office.