The fourth-place Ottawa Champions have become the Can-Am Baseball League’s team of destiny after knocking off the first-place New Jersey Jackals during the first round of the playoffs.

The Champions looked as though they would make an early exit from the playoff scene when they were slammed 11-2 by the Jackals in the opening game of the series. However, they gutted out a tight 4-3 victory in Game 2 at home and then piled up their run totals in two blowouts on the road at New Jersey’s Yogi Berra Stadium.

The Champions took Game 3 by a score of 8-3 behind a strong pitching performance by starter Yean Carlos Gil and finished off the series by smacking the Jackals 7-2 in Game 4.

In the clinching game, Ottawa got the jump of New Jersey in the second inning when they struck for three runs. 3B Donal Duarte, 1B Alexander Malleta, and OF Matt Helms all singled to load the bases. C Danny Grauer chased home the first run with a sacrifice fly and a little later OF Adron Chambers brought in two more runs with a sharp single of his own.

Daniel Bick hits his first homer of the season

The first home run of the season by SS Daniel Bick in the fourth–inning gave Ottawa a 5-1 lead and the club cruised from there to win its first playoff series as a franchise.

Ottawa’s hottest hitters during the series were Duarte who posted a .400 batting average and OF/hitting coach Sebastien Boucher who led the way with a 429 average.

Champions first-year starter Steve Borkowski (W, 1-0) went five solid innings and gave up only a pair of runs on seven hits.

Borkowski fanned five and walked three. Relievers Miles Moeller, Randy Hamrick, and Tyler Wilson threw the final four innings and were effective for Ottawa.

The Champions will face either the Quebec Capitales or the Rockland Boulders in Game 1 of the Can-Am League championship at RCGT Park tomorrow night at 7:05. The series between the Capitales and Boulders is tied at 2-2 following the Boulders beating Quebec 6-2 last night.

The two teams tangle in their deciding game this evening in Rockland.

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