Edmonton, AB – Steve Brown and Brent Metheny each hit home runs and starter Lou Pote gave a brilliant pitching performance as the Edmonton Capitals defeated the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings 7-1 in Game 1 of the North American League Championship Series on Thursday night.
A vibrant crowd of 3,083 packed the ballpark on the scorching September evening to see the hometown Caps take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, all of which is being held in Edmonton. The North Division champions will look to take a 2-0 series lead in Game 2 on Friday at 7 p.m., with Game 3 slated for Saturday at 7 p.m. and Game 4 penciled in for Sunday at 2 p.m.
The veteran hurler Pote tossed an absolute gem for the Caps on Thursday, as he gave up just one run on seven hits through eight innings with a whopping 11 strikeouts. The 2002 World Series champion with the Anaheim Angels and Sherwood Park resident, who recently turned 40, is scheduled to retire from professional baseball at the end of the season. Reliever David Davidson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The centre fielder Brown and first baseman Metheny led the Caps offence in Game 1, as they each launched home runs off WhiteWings starter Eric Blackwell. Brown went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Metheny was 1-for-2 with two RBI and one run scored. Second baseman Enrique Cruz, left fielder Todd Linden, catcher J.D. Closser and third baseman Carlos Duncan all had two-hit nights as well.
In honour of the league championship series being held in Edmonton, the Caps are having a parade of local champions throw their ceremonial first pitches. Game 1 featured former Edmonton Oilers captain Al Hamilton, who won a Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1966.
Game 2 on Friday will feature Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and five-time Oilers Stanley Cup champion Grant Fuhr, while Saturday’s Game 3 will see two Edmonton Eskimos Grey Cup champions, Ricky Ray and Willie Pless, take to the mound. Sunday afternoon’s Game 4 will feature Olympic and World Junior gold medalist and current Edmonton Oilers veteran forward Ryan Smyth.
NAL championship series tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, at the Capitals Box Office (10233 – 96 Ave) during regular business hours Monday through Friday, online at capsbaseball.ca or via phone at 780-414-GOAL (4625). Bench and grandstand seats are $20, and box seats are $25.