Starting pitcher Wilmer Font’s effective use of off-speed pitches over seven innings of work pushed the Ottawa Champions to a 4-0 Can-Am League win over the Sussex County Miners last night at RCGT Park. The win is Ottawa’s second in a row, and fifth in their last six games.
Font’s nine strikeouts were a result of finding his best breaking ball of the season, a pitch that hasn’t been in his arsenal according to Champions manager Hal Lanier. “It was just a great pitching performance from Wilmer,” said Lanier. “He didn’t walk anyone, and struck out nine thanks to his breaking ball.”
The former prospect of the Texas Rangers said he worked on his mechanics with pitching coach Billy Horn at the beginning of the season, which helped him come along with his game. “I felt pretty good tonight,” Font said. “I’ve been working on my secondary stuff and it was working well. Billy told me to throw out of the stretch, instead of my old wind-up. After that, everything has been working better.”
While the Miners had seven hits in the game, they were scattered. Ottawa’s expansion cousins never had more than one runner on base in any inning.
The Champions defence played a role in the win as well, according to Lanier. He was impressed with the game of Albert Cartwright, the Champions’ third baseman. “Albert made some adjustments at third base. He took a lot of ground balls during batting practice and really worked at it,” Lanier said. “He started getting his momentum toward first base and throwing harder.”
Chris Winder led the Champions at the plate, with two RBIs thanks to a bases-clearing double in the second inning that gave Ottawa their initial 2-0 lead. Mike Schwartz and Bryce Massanari each chipped in with two hits apiece.
The Champions and Miners return to action tonight at 7:05. The Champions will send RHP Laetten Galbraith (1-3, 3.85 ERA) to the mound while Sussex County counters with RHP Shawn Sanford (3-4, 3.34 ERA) at RCGT Park.