Saturday, September 19, 2009

2009 Can-Am League Champions - the Quebec Capitales

It seemed only fitting, with the best attendance in the Can-Am baseball league, the Quebec Capitales returned to La Belle Province tied in their best of five series for the Can-Am Championship with the Worcester Tornadoes at one game each. Game three of the series, which Quebec won 5-1 over the Tornadoes, saw Eric Gagne take the mound in front of 5,011 Quebec City baseball fans. The 2003 Cy Young Award winner did not disappoint and was in fine form, pitching a complete game and allowing only one run on six hits, while striking out eight Worcester batters. The victory gave the Capitales a 2-1 lead in the series and the momentum headed into game four.

The Municipal Stadium in Quebec City was ready for a championship on Friday evening and the 3,744 fans were on their feet after nine innings, cheering for the Capitales as they defeated the Tornadoes 7-4 to claim the 2009 Can-Am League Championship. Iberville Quebec native Karl Gelinas took to the mound for game four and after allowing two runs in the top of the first inning, he settled into the game, scattering five hits over six innings of work. On the evening, Gelinas allowed three runs while striking out five. Brett Palanski and Derek McDaid came from the bullpen to shut the door on Worcester’s championship aspirations. Neither pitcher allowed a hit in relief, McDaid allowed one run in the top of the ninth but it was not enough to catch the Capitales and ruin the party.

Quebec’s heavy hitters, Pierre-Luc LaForest and Pat Deschenes were factors throughout the series but it was first baseman Pat Scalabrini’s two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning leading the way on Friday. Scalabrini went two for three on the evening with three runs batted in. Center fielder Goef Tomlinson was also a factor, going three for five at the plate, with two doubles and one RBI.

Scalabrini told Le Journal de Quebec (translated from French), “I have waited eight years for a championship in professional baseball. It is incredible to win in front of the best baseball fans in the world. There were many magical moments in the final.”

The Capitales struggled in the first half of the season, posting a 22-25 win/loss record but found their form, winning the second half of the split-season schedule with a 31-16 record. In my recent interview with Miles Wolff, league Commissioner and owner of the Capitales, days before the start of the playoffs, the Commissioner expressed his optimism looking ahead at the playoffs.

“Yeah, our team is really playing well now, we are sort of peaking, we hope at the right time. We are excited about being in the playoffs and we are hoping we can go all the way to the finals. Some good things are happening and there is a good interest in baseball in Quebec City.”

The good things did continue to happen, as the Capitales defeated the Brockton Rox 3-1 in the first round before ending Worcester’s season by the same 3-1 mark in the championship round. For Quebec, it is their second Can-Am Championship; they raised the trophy in 2006 as well. Congratulations to all of the teams in the Can-Am League for another exciting season of baseball and felicitations to our friends at the Capitales and their fans for winning the 2009 Can-Am Championship!

For more information on the Can-Am League and their teams, drop by the league's website, Have a great sports day everyone.

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