Miners Complete Eighth Inning Comeback as Champions Drop Fifth Straight
By Craig Richenback
Ottawa, ON – An eighth inning rally by the Sussex County Miners led them to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Champions on Saturday night.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead into the inning, three Champions pitchers combined to allow five runs, extending their losing streak to five games.
The Champions got on the board first but it took until the fifth inning to do it.
Sebastien Boucher and Ricky Oropesa each drew walks and with two out, Matt Helms lined an RBI single to left.
Danny Grauer extended Ottawa’s lead to 3-0 in the seventh when he drilled a two-run double to wall in left field, scoring Boucher and Oropesa.
Yean Carlos Gil kept the Miners off the board until the eighth when a one-out RBI single by Juan Duran drove home Rubi Silva. His night was done a batter later when he hit Mike Schwartz to load the bases.
Andrew Cooper came on and gave up an RBI single to make it 3-2 Ottawa, and was followed by Victor Beriguete, who allowed a two-run single to Justin Trapp and an RBI single to Nate Irving.
Ottawa had several chances to break the game open early but couldn’t convert.
With two out in the first inning, Boucher singled and Steve Brown followed with a bunt single of his own. Oropesa then singled through the right side but Miners rightfielder Rubi Silva delivered a bullet to nail Boucher trying to score and end the inning.
It was déjà vu all over again an inning later when Adron Chambers singled with runners on first and second and two out, but after a bobble in centrefield, Jay Austin ended the inning by throwing out Brandon Fischer trying to go first to third.
“We let too many scoring opportunities go by,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier. “We have to find a way to score more runs.”
Miners starter Ari Kaufman struggled with his command and worked in and out of trouble all day. He allowed a run on seven hits over five innings while striking out four and walking six.
Gianni Zayas (1-2) pitched one inning for the win.
Gil (L, 0-1) was strong through the first seven but faltered late, allowing four runs on 10 hits over 7.1 innings while striking out five and walking none.
“Gil pitched good enough to win,” said Lanier. “He was under 100 pitched in the eighth, but the reliever have to come in and get outs.”
Miners manager Bobby Jones was ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes.
The Champions will try to salvage the final game of the three game series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05. Michael Heesch gets the start for Sussex County while Pat Peterson gets the ball for Ottawa. Watch the game on canamleague.tv or listen at mixlr.com/scminers.