Friday, August 21, 2009

Quebec Capitales Search for a Playoff Position

This article was first published in the August 21st edition of Main Street Week - page 5, and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.

Quebec Capitales Search for a Playoff Position

The second half of the Can-Am baseball league’s split-season schedule is under way and the Quebec Capitales find themselves in the hunt for first and a place in this year's playoffs. After a disappointing first half, the team has performed well in the second part of the season and are at the top of the standings with the Brockton Rox.

In the Can-Am League, the winner of the first half of the season qualifies for the playoffs, as do the second half winners; the two teams with the next best overall records will join them in the hunt for the championship. Already assured a playoff spot are the New Jersey Jackals. Their 28-19 win/loss record earned them the top spot in the first half. The Capitales were fourth in the six-team league with a 22-25 record at the halfway point.

While the Capitales have struggled at times on the mound and at the plate, they have fought their way to a 17-10 record to start the second half and continue to improve as the season progresses. If they do not win the second half, their overall record has them in third place and they should qualify for the post season with New Jersey, Brockton and Worcester. Anything can happen in the world of sports but it appears that Sussex and New Hampshire will be on the outside looking in at the end of the season.

The Brockton Rox are first in team batting average, with a .288 average, while the Capitales are fifth with a dangerously low .269 team batting average. Leading the way for the Capitales are Alex Nunez (.313) and Pat Deschenes (.303), both are among the top ten in batting average in the league. The heavy hitter on the team is Gatineau native, Pierre-Luc (Pete) LaForest. He is third in the league with 16 home runs and 56 runs batted in (RBI’s). Drafted in 1995 by the Montreal Expos, LaForest has played in 68 games in the Majors with Tampa Bay, San Diego and Philadelphia.

On the mound, the Rox have the best team ERA (earned run average), allowing 3.63 runs per game. The Capitales are fourth in the league, allowing 4.37 runs per game. This spring, Quebec City made national headlines with the signing of former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne. After a slow start and working through injury, Gagne has found his stride and he is now 5-3 in 13 starts with a 4.42 ERA.

The one statistic that Quebec City leads the league in is attendance. Baseball fans in the provincial capital have once again shown their love of baseball this season and in 33 home games, the Capitales have seen 119,116 fans pass through the turnstiles. Averaging 3,610 fans per game, the Stade Municipal is the place to be in Quebec City during the Can-Am baseball season.

Adding to the history of the Stade Municipal on August 15th were four special visitors. NHL players Maxime Talbot, Mathieu Garon and Philippe Boucher brought a special guest to the game, the Stanley Cup. All three were members of the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and Talbot was instrumental in the Finals, scoring both goals in the 2-1 game seven victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Perhaps a Stanley Cup visit will be the incentive needed to finish the season strong and earn their place in the playoffs. Embraced by the city of Quebec, the team and the players would love to bring the Championship trophy home as they did in 2006. Have a great sports day everyone.

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