Kalian Sams photo: Sébastien Dion
Jayce Ray photo: Sussex County Miners
Durham, N.C. — The Can-Am League’s two top squads during the regular season, the Sussex County Miners and the Quebec Capitales, will meet in the best-of-five championship series beginning Tuesday at Stade Canac in Quebec City.
This is the second postseason meeting between the two clubs, as the Capitales swept a three-game semifinal series in 2017.
(1) Sussex County Miners vs. (2) Quebec Capitales
Game 1: Tuesday, September 11 at Québec, 7:05 – Kenny Koplove (SC) vs. Arik Sikula (QUE)
Game 2: Wednesday, September 12 at Québec, 7:05 – TBA (SC) vs. Lazaro Blanco (QUE)
Game 3: Thursday, September 13 at Sussex County, 7:05 – TBA (SC) vs. Jay Johnson (QUE)
Game 4: Friday, September 14 at Sussex County (if necessary), 7:05
Game 5: Saturday, September 15 at Sussex County (if necessary), 6:05
Sussex County put together its best regular season in franchise history in 2018, leading the league with a 63-38 record and a .624 winning percentage. The Miners survived a scare from fourth-seeded Trois-Rivières in the semifinals, taking the first two on the road, then dropping the next two back at Skylands Park before edging the Aigles, 3-2, at home on Sunday.
All-star first baseman Audy Ciriaco has continued his superb play into the postseason, going 11-for-21 (.524) in the semifinals. Sussex County was also aided by two gutty pitching performances from righty starter Cory Jones, who threw 9 innings in Game 1 and 8.2 innings in Game 5 to earn a pair of wins.
Quebec was the league’s hottest team at the end of the season, finishing 58-44 (.569). For the third season in a row, the Capitales faced Rockland during the playoffs; after losing to the Boulders in the 2016 semifinals and winning in the 2017 finals, Quebec polished off Rockland in 2018, taking the series 3 games to 1.
OF Nick Van Stratten led the Capitales’ attack in the semifinals, going 7-for-15 (.467) with three RBI and three runs scored. Righty Lazaro Blanco had an especially impressive outing in the team’s Game 3 victory, giving up no earned runs in seven innings of work, fanning 10.
Home-field advantage will be an interesting angle to the series. Sussex County went 41-13 at Skylands Stadium this season, a league record for both victories and winning percentage (.759). The Miners went 7-3 at home against the Quebec this season. However, including both regular season and playoffs, Sussex County has lost six of its last eight home games.
Meanwhile, the Capitales went 36-18 (.667) at Stade Canac this season, including a perfect 7-0 record against the Miners. Dating back to 2016, Quebec has won its last seven home playoff games.
- Head-to-head in 2018: Quebec won the season series, 10-7
- At Skylands Stadium: Sussex County won the series, 7-3
- At Stade Canac: Quebec won the series, 7-0
- Miners vs. Quebec in 2018: .264 BA, 75 runs scored, 28 stolen bases, 4.02 ERA – full team stats vs. QUE
- Capitales vs. Sussex County in 2018: .275 BA, 79 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, 3.76 ERA – full team stats vs. SC
- Previous series match-ups:
- Quebec won 2017 semifinals, 3-0