The faces were long in 2019 and 2020. But this year, the champagne flowed at Cascades de Shawinigan, the new league champions in Quebec Major League Baseball.
After two failed attempts in the final, Cascades, who were already winners of the regular season, were crowned on Wednesday night in the park Réal-Dufresne in the Shawinigan-Sud sector, and dominated the fifth match 15-0 against Pirates of Saint-Jean-sur – Richelieu, in front of more than 700 spectators.
An 11-point strike in the fourth inning, a round of battles in which 16 local hits marched to the plate, ended the Pirates.
Steve Brown, with a grand slam and five RBIs, as well as Michel Dagenais, author of a bang for four goals and a double for four RBIs, animated the Shawinigan attack.
Before being named QMLB’s most valuable player in the playoffs, shortstop Gabriel Thibodeau also had a great night, something his three RBIs show, including the first two in a home run in the opening round. That would set the tone for an unforgettable night for Shawinigan baseball fans.
The city of central Mauricie is also celebrating its first major sports championship since cataracts won the Memorial Cup in 2012.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Thibodeau said after the ceremonies, while fans and family members of the players met on the pitch where the celebration, we assume, would continue.
Thibodeau thanked teammate Dagenais for the title of MVP in Shawinigan’s dream game. It must be said that the collective sense was so deep for the Shawinigan team that other candidates would have deserved consideration for this honor.
“We worked hard all year! This organization has worked hard since he joined the league a few years ago. She ate her black bread, but tonight we can finally eat! “
The third will have been the right one
Yes, this third attempt to win a first title in Quebec’s big baseball was the right one.
If the first years of the cascades were not easy in LBMQ, when the team struggled to hold on to the victories, the arrival of the former star pitcher in Aigles de Trois-Rivières, Matthew Rusch, has led the organization to another level, that of excellence.
In his first year at the helm at Cascades this summer, manager Jean-Philippe Lemay recognized the importance of a pitcher like Rusch, except that he wanted to give the players around him energy.
“When I was hired, we already had a first-class team, but I think we pushed it a little further with important acquisitions,” shared a happy Lemay, quoting Xavier’s arrival. Tremblay, a centerpiece of Cascade’s success. Tremblay also ended the match on Wednesday, after being called to Alexandre Janelle-Gagnon. The two, supported by their defense, shut down the Pirates without solutions.
“What a great story this Cascades Championship is! The stars had to be adjusted, all our players had to contribute. “
All Cascades players are from Mauricie or Center-du-Québec. Those who come from outside live in the region.
“It’s a local pride, that’s for sure,” Lemay said. “I believed in it.”
This esprit de corps undoubtedly helped Shawinigan withstand the small storm caused by Brock returning from Drummondville in the first round of the playoffs. When they won a comfortable 3-0 lead in the quarterfinals, Cascades saw Brock climb up again to make the match 3-3. Instead of panicking, Shawinigan was able to finish the job. Cascades lost just one game later in those series.
“We never looked back after the series of challenges we faced against Drummondville. I’m proud of my boys, ”smiled Lemay, who enjoyed a third championship in Mauricie, after the coronation of Trois-Rivières junior Aigles in 2005 and Trois-Rivières Vertdure in Quebec big baseball, three years later.
The president of Cascades and the founder Dany Milette had some great jerseys prepared on the sidelines of the championship. These came on Wednesday, just hours before the fifth match. Yes, the president was safe!
“The nicest thing is to win with this gang, players I’ve always known,” said Francis Désilets, who happened to be speaking for all his teammates.
Without a doubt, this conquest will remain etched in the memory of the Cascades players and their supporters.