After their games were rained out on Friday and Saturday, the Quebec Capitales and Brockton Rox played a double-header on Sunday to keep their best of five series on schedule. The Rox won the first game of the day, game three of the series, by a score of 6-5. Already down 2-0 in the series, if the Rox lost, their season was over; the win meant the teams were back on the field an hour later for game four.
The Capitales started quickly on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and starting pitcher Karl Gelinas cruised along until the third inning. The bottom of the third saw Brockton’s bats come alive, as they put four runs on the board with three home runs; including back-to-back shots. With one runner on base, shortstop Dominic Ramos picked a good time for his first home run of the season, going deep against Gelinas to even the score at 2-2. The next batter, right fielder Keith Brachold, sent one over the wall for a 3-2 lead. The Rox were not finished, as first baseman Clyde Williams hit another solo-shot to make the score 4-2 after three innings.
The Capitales evened the score with a pair of runs in the sixth inning and moved ahead 5-4 in the seventh but in front of their fans the Rox kept coming. Second baseman Melvin Falu went deep with a runner on base to take a 6-5 lead and Brockton closer, Jerry Dunn, came in for the save to avoid the sweep and force game four. Brockton’s Adam Piechowski pitched one inning in relief to get the win, Gelinas took the loss.
The teams took the field for game four after a quick break with the league’s August Pitcher of the Month, Dan Sausville taking the mound for Quebec against Brockton’s Freddy Flores. The game remained scoreless until the third inning, when second baseman Josh Colafemina drove home a run with a triple and would later score himself to give the Capitales a 2-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Quebec scored three more runs to take a 5-0 lead. The Rox batters scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth and one more in the sixth to make the game 5-3 but the Capitales bullpen held strong and game one winner, Brett Palanski earned his second win with one inning in relief. Derek McDaid allowed one hit in the ninth but kept the Rox off the score sheet for his second save of the playoffs. With the 5-3 victory, the Quebec Capitales move on to the Can-Am Championship.
Awaiting the Capitales in the Finals are the surprising Worcester Tornadoes. The Tornadoes finished the regular season on an eight game losing streak and were 1-9 in their last ten games but they hit their stride at the right time. The New Jersey Jackals, winners of the first half of the split-season schedule, lost to the Tornadoes in a three game sweep.
In the regular season, Quebec posted a 53-41 win/loss record, while Worcester posted a 43-50 record and with the top two teams eliminated, Quebec has home field for the Finals. With the best attendance in the league again this season, it is only fitting the baseball fans in Quebec have the opportunity to witness the Capitales winning the Championship at home. Worcester won the league Championship in 2005, Quebec brought the Championship trophy home in 2006; both teams know what it takes to win it all, so it should be an interesting Final. Game one starts Tuesday, September 15th and live webcasts are available at www.canamleague.com. Have a great sports day everyone.