Courtesy of Craig Richenback, Ottawa Champions
WINNIPEG, MB – Both the Winnipeg Goldeyes and the Ottawa Champions (Can-Am League) had to beat the best to be the best in 2016.
Professional baseball in Canada is as strong as it’s ever been. The Goldeyes have won two of the last five American Association championships, Canadian teams have won seven of the past eight Can-Am League championships, and the Short Season-A Vancouver Canadians won three straight Northwest League titles from 2011-13.
The Goldeyes reached the postseason via the American Association wild card on the final day of the regular season and drew the top-ranked St. Paul Saints in the Division Series. Winnipeg beat the Saints in five games, winning the last two on the road.
The Goldeyes drew the Wichita Wingnuts in the Championship Series, and just like the previous round against St. Paul, rallied back on the road to win the final two games to take the series in five. Former Major Leaguer and Goldeyes’ legend Reggie Abercrombie hit two home runs and drove in seven in the championship-clinching 11-4 win.
A couple thousand kilometers away, the Champions finished four the in the Can-Am League in the regular season, drawing the top-ranked New Jersey Jackals in the semi-finals. But solid starting pitching and timely hitting from the likes of Kenny Bryan, Sebastien Boucher, and Donal Duarte led them to three straight wins after a loss in Game One.
The Championship Series against the Rockland Boulders would feature more of the same, as Ottawa dropped Games One and Two a home, but rebounded with three straight wins in Pomona thanks to offensive outbursts from Bryant and Albert Cartwright, and shutdown pitching performances from Steve Borkowski and Austin Chrismon. Ottawa is managed by former Goldeyes’ skipper Hal Lanier who piloted Winnipeg for 10 years from 1996-2005.
For the Champions, it was the first championship in franchise history, and the first one for an Ottawa baseball team since the Triple-A Lynx won the International League title in 1995. For the Goldeyes, it was their third, to go along with a Northern League championship in 1994 and an American Association championship in 2012.
For information on 2017 season tickets, mini packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com