Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 Can-Am Baseball Playoffs - Capitales take Game 1


There is a tremendous baseball history in Quebec City and the fans in the provincial capital have embraced the Can-Am League and their Capitales. The winners of the second half in the split-season schedule got off to a great start in their best of five series with a come from behind victory against the Brockton Rox. The Capitales did not disappoint the 4,415 baseball fans in attendance and hope for the same result in game two before heading to Brockton for the remainder of the series.


Brockton were 9-1 in their last ten games of the season and had a 7-2 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning before the Capitales scored three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth to take the game 8-7. Brett Palanski got the win in relief, while former Detroit Tigers draft pick Jerry Dunn took the loss, walking two and allowing three runs in the ninth.


Former Cy Young winner Eric Gagne had a rough start, giving up a two-run homer in the top of the first and another in the seventh inning when Melvin Falu hit a solo shot to lead off the seventh. If not for the offensive outburst late in the game, Gagne would have taken the loss. Overall, he scattered nine hits over seven innings pitched. He allowed all seven Brockton runs, all earned, while striking out five and walking two.


At the plate, 2009 Player of the Year, Pierre-Luc (Pete) LaForest and third baseman Pat Deschenes led the Capitales. In the eighth, LaForest started the comeback, driving in a run with a single and Deschenes brought the score to 7-5 with a two-run double. After starting the bottom of the ninth with two walks, a fielding error by Dunn on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Goef Tomlinson brought both runners across the plate to make the score 7-7 and Tomlinson advanced to second on the play. A single by left fielder Alex Nunez finished of the Rox as Tomlinson crossed the plate as run number eight. Deschenes went 3-for-4 on the game with three RBI and LaForest and Nunez had two hits each.


The loss spoiled a great pitching performance by Brockton’s Wayne Lundgren. The 6’7 right-hander from Baulkhan Australia pitched seven strong innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs while striking out six Quebec batters. Lundgren posted a 9-5 win/loss record in the regular season, with a 2.75 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 19 starts and compared to Gagne’s 6-6 regular season record and his 4.65 ERA, this was Brockton’s game to win until the bullpen let them down.


Game two goes tonight (September 10th) at the Stade Municipal in Quebec City with hometown hero Michel Simard (9-6, 4.16 ERA, 81 strikeouts) getting the start for the Capitales against Brockton’s Craig Anderson (7-4, 3.62 ERA, 87 strikeouts). Live streaming is available in French and English at www.canamleague.com.


In the other Can-Am playoff series, the Worcester Tornadoes surprised the first half winners, the New Jersey Jackals, with a 7-3 victory in Worcester. Game two of this series also goes tonight at 7:05 pm. Have a great sports day everyone.

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