The Ottawa Champions welcomed the Cuban National Team to RCGT Park on Friday night and behind starter Daniel Cordero’s (2-2) shutout pitching took the series opener 3-0. It was Cordero’s first career nine-inning shutout in the Can-Am League.

Ottawa’s Danny Grauer fouls off a pitch in last night’s game against the Cuban National Team. (Ron Patey photo)

The pitchers worked quickly and effectively during the game in front of a crowd of 2,874 at RCGT Park and Cordero was a direct example of this. He was often able to escape any pressure by getting Cuban hitters to hit into double plays and only allowing four hits during his outing. It was also a nice evening statistically for Cordero who was able to lower his 7.04 ERA which he had heading into the ballgame.

It was the perfect start for the Champions. After a three up, three down inning in the top half of the first, they would strike for the first two runs in the bottom half of the inning. The inning could have been worse for Cuban starter Ulfrido Garcia if it weren’t for a tremendous leaping over-the-shoulder catch from Yoelkis Cespedes, which robbed Gustavo Pierre of an RBI.

Ottawa loaded the bases to start the fourth, but were only able to chase home one run. With one out Daniel Bick hit a chopper to second baseman Juan Torriente who tagged out a runner and threw to first but it was not in time. Instead of ending the inning a run came into score and Ottawa added to their lead to make it 3-0.

The game ended on a fantastic catch by Tyson Gillies on the warning track, which brought the crowd to their feet.

The two teams will continue their series tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

In other Can-Am League action, the Rockland Boulders defeated the Dominican Republic National Team 14-9.

Inside pitch: The Champions have parted ways with pitching coach Miguel Gomez and replaced him on an interim basis with RHP Phillippe Aumont. Aumont, 28, signed with the Champions on June 7 and has since made two starts, compiling a 0-1 record with a 6.94 ERA. The Gatineau, QC, native will serve as a player/coach until a full-time replacement is hired.

-Ottawa Champions