Champions Sweep Jackals Ahead of All-Star Break
By Mike Pattison
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Champions completed the sweep of the New Jersey Jackals with a 9-3 win on Sunday afternoon.
It was a very successful road trip for the Champions who won five of six games.
The win was also the Champions seventh straight victory in New Jersey against a Jackals squad who are just a few games out of first place.
Sunday's victory was powered by the Champions bats, which included two massive homeruns and some clutch hitting up and down the lineup.
"It was a great road trip, I take my hat off to the players and we're playing up to our potential," said Hal Lanier, the Champions manager.
The Jackals got off to a quick start as their slugger Brian Burgamy drove home the opening run with an RBI single.
After that things were quiet for both sides as both Steve Borkowski and Jackals' starter Lee Sosa were rolling.
Steve Borkowski (W, 6-5) was very solid but he ran into some trouble in the fifth as he allowed a run on a sacrifice fly to Johnny Bladel. However, that's all he would surrender in his seven innings of work.
The Champions cued up the comeback in the sixth thanks to Saturday's hero, Tyson Gillies. Gillies hit a game-winning grand slam in the previous game and he came up with another clutch homerun on Sunday.
Gillies launched a two-run homer to tie the game, but the Champions weren't done there as in the seventh they drove home another pair of runs. Sebastien Boucher and Steve Brown connected for back-to-back RBI singles and just like that the Champions took a 4-2 lead.
Ottawa ran into some trouble in the bottom half of the inning as the Jackals loaded the bases with just one out. However he was able to escape, only allowing a single run on an RBI sac fly to Conrad Gregor. It was 4-3 after seven innings.
Danny Grauer provided some insurance in the ninth after he launched a massive three-run homer off the scoreboard in Yogi Berra Stadium. His seventh homer of the season increased the Champions lead to 7-3.
They weren't done there, as they rallied to load the bases for Sebastien Boucher who singled home a pair of runs. The lead increased to 9-3 and that's how it would end.
Lanier was very pleased on how his ball club has been playing by saying: "I really like what I'm seeing, we have to enjoy the time off and come back after the All-Star break and keep playing the brand of ball we've been playing."
The All-Star Game is coming to town and the festivities will begin on Monday with the Skills Competition. The All-Star Game will follow on Tuesday night at RCGT Park. Then, the Champions will begin a four game series at home against the Rockland Boulders on Thursday night.
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.