A last-ditch comeback by the Ottawa Champions fell just short Thursday afternoon. After a two-run ninth for the Champions, Jared McDonald and the Rockland Boulders walked off the defending Can-Am League champs 7-6 with an infield single in the bottom of the ninth.
The loss is Ottawa’s eighth in nine games, and drops their record to 4-9.
Champions starter Yean Carlos Gil went six full innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs. He gets no decision despite the quality start.
After Rockland took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, Ottawa answered with a solo home run off the bat of Daniel Bick in the fifth inning. Rockland continued the seesaw effect with a sac fly courtesy of Marcus Nidiffer in the bottom half of the aforementioned fifth.
In the fifth, the shootout continued with another home run, this time a two-run bomb off the bat of Matt Helms. The shot to right field was Helms’ second homer of the season, and put Ottawa ahead 3-2.
After the Champions padded their lead in the top of the seventh with a run, the middle of the Boulders order did in the Champions.
First a monster three-run homer by Nidiffer gave the Boulders the lead at 5-4, and then after the Boulders captain cleared the bases, Joe Maloney smacked a solo jack to give Rockland a 6-4 lead.
Ottawa needed a big ninth inning, and they came up with the baserunners they needed. After early singles from Bick and Brian Bistagne, Sebastien Boucher walked to load the bases for Steve Brown. The Colombian made no mistake, lining a two-run single into left field for a 6-6 tie in the ninth.
The Boulders battled again, and loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning. Victor Beriguete (0-1) struck out Alex Herceg to bring Rockland to their last out.
Then, McDonald dribbled a ball down the first baseline. Beriguete fielded the ball, collided with McDonald in front of first base, and umpire Kris Engstrand ruled that Beriguete missed the tag and the base. He called McDonald safe after he picked himself up and touched first, giving the Boulders the one-run win.
Boulders closer Mayckol Guaipe (2-0) picked up the victory after blowing the save a half-inning earlier.
Ottawa will return home for a six-game homestand, starting Friday night against the Sussex County Miners at 7:05. After the end of the three-game set, the Boulders come into down for an early-week series.
Single-game tickets and group packages can be purchased by visiting http://www.ottawachampions.com, over the phone at 613.745.2255, or in person at the RCGT Park box office.