Toast the end of summer with the Ottawa Champions Fan Appreciation Weekend! This four game series marks the end of the roller coaster 2017 season which could still include a playoff berth for the mercurial Champions.
Despite our water-logged summer, the Champions have battled through over 95 games and could still be fighting for their second straight playoff run in their three year history. This weekend they welcome the first place Rockland Boulders – who dominate the league every season, but couldn’t finish off the Champions in the final round of the playoffs last year. Ottawa rarely fares well against Rockland, but if last season taught us anything, it is that Hal Lanier can produce a miracle when we need it most.
Pitching remains the key to the Champions success, so watch for brilliant outings by ace Austin Chrismon, and veteran Philippe Aumont who threw the franchise’s first no-hitter in July. Steve Borkowski is the current league leader in strike outs with 117 in 20 games played, 123 innings pitched. He was the Champions saviour in the playoffs last year against Rockland, and has continued to dominate them this season.
The Ottawa bullpen has been a constantly evolving group of arms this summer, so success will all come down to getting a quality start, with tight defense. The bats have been hot and cold all season, but recently the big bats have found their swing, giving fans something to cheer about, and racking up high scores. Keep an eye on the relentlessly speedy Tyson Gillies, who is leading the team with 11 homers in 67 games.
Fans can also expect a clutch hitting weekend from Sebastien Boucher, the team’s hitting coach, who manages to create offensive opportunities out of thin air, when it’s down the the wire.
Friday night is Seinfeld night, promising Seinfeld themed giveaways and activities. No confirmation yet if there is going to be soup or not. Saturday night is the final fireworks night of the season, ending the season with a literal bang. RCGT Park will also host the Tealgate Party to support Ovarian Cancer Canada before the game, with the 50/50 proceeds going towards the cause.
Sunday and Monday are day games, starting at 1:35pm – perfect for a Kichesippi or Clocktower beer in the sunshine. Team posters will be given out to fans on Monday, to be signed by the players and coaches after the game, right on the field. This is your chance to meet the Champions, get your foul ball signed and take pictures with your favourite players.
The last two Labour Day games saw huge crowds at the ballpark, so arrive early to get your lucky seat, Gabriel’s pizza and Lois and Frima’s ice cream. It may be your last chance before the boys of summer have gone.
Ottawa plays the Rockland Boulders at RCGT Park (300 Coventry Rd) in a series of four games from September 1–4. tickets cost $5–14 online.