Sams Does It Again, Walks Off Champions with Blast in 9th
By Mike Nellis
Photo: Marc Lafleur
Ottawa, ON – Kalian Sams burned the Champions again Tuesday night, with six RBIs through three home runs – including a walk-off two-run jack in the bottom of the ninth – helping the Quebec Capitales to their second straight win over the Champions, 9-7.
Sams now has 18 home runs on the season. He opened this three-game set with a grand slam Monday.
“You have to take positives, we’re swinging the bats well and just coming up a little bit short, said Hal Lanier,” Ottawa’s skipper. “We never gave up and kept pecking away, I have to give credit to my club, they played hard”
A quick start for the Capitales propelled them to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, off a two-run home run from Kalian Sams and a two-run single from Marcus Knecht.
The Champions found their way back into the game, notching two runs in the top of the seventh after a single into left-centre by Gustavo Pierre plated Danny Grauer and Matt Helms, bringing the score to 5-2.
They would get the score to 5-4 after a solo home run by Ricky Oropesa and another RBI single. On Oropesa’s next at-bat, he appeared to pull the Champions ahead with a long shot into left field, but Quebec outfielder James McOwen reached over the wall and pulled the home run back into the ballpark to preserve his team’s lead.
In the fifth, Sams slammed his second homer of the game to give the Capitales a three-run cushion and a 7-4 lead.
Ottawa would continue to battle from behind, however, and chased Capitales reliever Trevor Bayless from the game by loading the bases with nobody out. Quebec closer Nolan Becker (W, 3-1) arrived in the ballgame to try for six outs, and gave up two runs on a Steve Brown single, then a walk.
Now within one run, Ottawa found themselves down to their final out in the top of the ninth. Carson Helms stepped up and made no mistake on a pitch by Becker, driving it out of the ballpark in deep centre field for his first career professional home run, tying the game 7-7.
However, Sams one-upped Helms in the bottom of the inning, smashing a shot off Ottawa reliver Noah Gapp (L, 0-1) for his third homer of the night.
The game was dubbed a pitchers’ duel before the game, with Quebeckers Phillippe Aumont and Karl Gelina going toe-to-toe on the mound. The teams combined for 25 hits, and neither starter received a decision.
The teams do battle again Wednesday, with another 7:05 first pitch from Stade Canac in Quebec City.
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.