It was a memorable night for the Ottawa Champions in Pomona, NY. A two-homer, six-RBI game from Danny Grauer pushed the Champions passed the Rockland Boulders 13-9 in a slugfest that landed manager Hal Lanier his 900th win as an independent baseball manager.
“I guess I’ve been around for a long time to get that many wins,” Lanier joked. “I’ve been very fortunate to play with some very good players.”
Lanier’s win comes after independent managing stints that have brought him all across North America. He has managed in Winnipeg, Joliet, Sussex County, Normal, and now Ottawa, in a career that has kept him in indy ball since 1996.
After a good start for Rockland that saw them leading 5-0, the Champions offence woke up in the third inning.
Daniel Bick hit a RBI single to centre-field and Matt Helms scored the Champions first run of the game. Then, Steve Brown advanced to first on a fielder’s choice that scored two runs, cutting the Champions deficit to two runs.
Grauer’s two home runs gave Ottawa the go-ahead runs, coming in the fourth and fifth inning respectively putting his team ahead by a score of 7-5.
The Champions added to their lead in the eighth inning. With the base loaded, Steve Nysiztor hit an RBI single that gave the Champions a 10-7 lead. The Champions added three more runs in the eighth inning and took a commanding 13-7 lead.
The third game of this four-game set will be played this evening at 6:30 p.m.
In other Can-Am League action, Trois-Rivieres nipped Sussex County 5-4 and New Jersey edged the Cuban National team 7-6.