Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quebec Capitales win 2010 Can-Am League Championship

A portion of this article was first published in the September 17th edition of Main Street Week and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by Main Street Week News to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.

The summer is wrapping up and sports fans are preparing for the second half of the CFL season, the MLB’s World Series, and the start of the NHL, NFL, and NBA schedules. So many leagues, so little time... As regular readers will know, one league I enjoy watching every summer is the Can-Am Baseball League.

Once again, the Quebec Capitales thrilled their fans with another winning season in the six-team league and the team had another strong showing at the turnstile; 147, 978 baseball fans visited Quebec City’s Stade Municipal this summer. With a win/loss record of 30-17 in the first half of the split-season schedule, the defending Can-Am champions finished first in the league and qualified for the post season. The Capitales rolled through the second half as well and finished the year with a league best 57-37 record.

The Pittsfield Colonials, New Jersey Jackals, and the Brockton Rox joined the Capitales in the first round of the Can-Am playoffs, with the Capitales and Colonials advancing to the next round. Quebec and Pittsfield began battling for the Can-Am championship in a best-of-five series on Tuesday evening. After dropping the opening game 6-5 when Pittsfield rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Capitales evened things up with a 5-4 victory before the series shifted back to Quebec City. In front of their home fans, Quebec grabbed the series lead with a 1-0 victory in game three thanks to an RBI triple by Ivan Naccarta in the eighth inning. With the opportunity to win their second consecutive Can-Am Championship, the Capitales wasted little time in game four; taking an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and added three more runs in the third. Sebastien Boucher went 3-5, with two home runs and five RBI’s as the Capitales cruised to a 6-1 victory and the Can-Am League Championship.

Leading the way for the Capitales at the plate this summer was Ottawa native Sebastien Boucher. The right fielder powered the offence with 11 home runs, 75 RBI’s, and a .336 batting average. A seventh round selection of the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft, he played at various levels from Class-A to Triple-A baseball before joining the Capitales last season. Equally impressive at the plate this year, was shortstop Ivan Naccarta. The Montreal native led the league with 124 hits, was fourth overall with 68 runs scored, and his .316 batting average placed him in the top-six in that category.

The Capitales pitching staff began the playoffs on a roll again this year; led by Mathew Rusch, Karl Gelinas, and Dan Sausville. Rusch finished the season with 11 wins, second overall in the league, and his 108 strikeouts left him only seven behind the league leader. Gelinas, a member of the Capitales since 2007, had the second best earned run average in the Can-Am League with an ERA of 3.07 in his 16 appearances. Sausville pitched 115 innings this season in 22 appearances and posted an equally impressive 3.11 ERA.

Congratulations to team owner Miles Wolff, GM Alex Harvey, Manager Patrick Scalabrini and everyone in the organization for another great season; back-to-back championships in any league is a tremendous accomplishment and the celebrations will continue until the journey begins again in 2011. The championship is the third Can-Am title for the Capitales (2006, 2009, and 2010).

In other Can-Am news: Last season, the Can-Am League was in the headlines when former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne joined the Capitales pitching staff. This year, a former Montreal Expo joined the Brockton Rox for a game - a pitching performance that baseball fans in attendance will never forget. At 63 years young, Bill “Spaceman” Lee took to the mound for the Rox and pitched 5-1/3 innings, allowing two runs, and picking up the win in a 7-3 Brockton victory. Way to go Bill!

In case you missed it - After 20 years and many failed attempts, I have decided to kick a nasty habit to the curb... The Voice of Sport will now be a “smoke free” column! Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Dirk Hayhurst is raising funds for the people of Pakistan affected by the devastating floods. My mission: quit smoking and donate one month’s cigarette money to Dirk’s fundraising efforts. You can follow my journey to better health online - I hope to see you there!
Have a great sports day everyone.

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