Originally founded as the Northeast League in 1995, the Can-Am League has gone through various changes over the years but has continued to play without missing a season. Renamed the Can-Am League in 2005, the league has seen 9 different champions. This year the Quebec Capitales won its 4th title and 3rd straight.
The 2011 season consisted of 8 teams including the Brockton Rox, New Jersey Jackels, Newark Bears, Pittsfield Colonials, Quebec Capitales, Rockland Boulders, New York Federals, and the Worcester Tornadoes.
Quebec took both halves of the season finishing 8.5 games ahead of 2nd place New Jersey. Pittsfield (12 games back) and Brockton (14.5 games back) also made the playoffs for the 2011 season.
Can-Am League Standings
|Quebec Capitales||64||26||Won 8|
|New Jersey Jackals||57||36||Lost 3|
|Pittsfield Colonials||53||39||Won 4|
|Brockton Rox||51||42||Won 3|
|Worcester Tornadoes||48||44||Lost 4|
|Newark Bears||41||52||Won 1|
|Rockland Boulders||40||52||Lost 1|
|New York Federals||15||78||Lost 6|
In the first round of the playoffs Quebec took on 4th place Brockton while the #2 and 3 seeds played one another in New Jersey and Pittsfield.
Quebec made quick work of Brockton winning the series in 3 games by a combined score of 24-4. Only Game 3 was close with Quebec coming out on top 3-2. The Rox just couldn’t overcome the strong Quebec pitching as the Capitales moved onto the finals to face the New Jersey/Pittsfield winner.
Quebec Capitales 10, Brockton Rox 1
Quebec Capitales 11, Brockton Rox 1
Quebec Capitales 3, Brockton Rox 2
*Quebec wins series 3-0
The other semi-final series wasn’t much of a contest either as the New Jersey Jackals swept the Pittsfield Colonials in 3 games. New Jersey only trailed once in the 3 games and only for 2.5 innings as they outscored the Colonials 21-4.
New Jersey Jackals 5, Pittsfield Colonials 1
New Jersey Jackals 8, Pittsfield Colonials 2
New Jersey Jackals 8, Pittsfield Colonials 1
*New Jersey wins series 3-0
So the finals were set as the top two teams from the regular season would face off with one another. The games were a bit closer than in the semi finals and there was no sweep, but in the end Quebec was too much for New Jersey as they won their 3rd straight, and 4th overall, league title.
Game 1 saw a great pitching performance from Quebec’s Bryan Rembisz who went 7 shutout innings allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 to pick up the win. Pete Laforest provided all the necessary offense with a 3-run home run in the 4th inning off New Jersey starter Isaac Pavlik.
Game 2 was another close game with Quebec coming out on top 4-3. Once again Quebec got to the New Jersey starter early with 4 runs in the 3rd inning. Geofrey Tomlinson drove in the first run with a double, and he would later score on Sebastien Boucher’s RBI single. The next hitter was Rene Leveret who would drive in the final two runs with a 2-run blast off Jackal starter A.J. Wideman. Wideman would take the loss going 6 innings allowing the 4 runs.
The Jackals bounced back in Game 3 with its first, and only, victory of the finals. This time the Jackal pitchers kept the ball in the ballpark and Jon Kibler gave New Jersey a strong start going 6 innings allowing only 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 5. The Jackal bats woke up as well as they belted 3 home runs in the game.
New Jersey got on the board in the 4th on a DAngelo Jimenez 2-run home run. Myron Leslie drove in 2 as well in the 8th with a 2-run bomb of his own. And in the 9th the Jackals would add an insurance run with a Nick Giarraputo solo shot.
Game 4 would be all Quebec after the first inning and a half. New Jersey jumped out in front 4-1 after the first inning and a half, but it was all down hill from there. Quebec would get 2 runs in the 2nd and 3rd and a single run in the 4th to win their 3rd straight Can-Am League Title. Ryan DiPietro picked up the win for Quebec going 6.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. Pete Laforest (0-for-3)and Geofrey Tomlinson (2-for-4) both drove in 2 runs to help Quebec defend their title.
Quebec Capitales 3, New Jersey Jackals 0
Quebec Capitales 4, New Jersey Jackals 3
New Jersey Jackals 5, Quebec Capitales 1
Quebec Capitales 6, New Jersey Jackals 4
*Quebec wins series 3-1
Danny Bomback (Pittsfield) led the league in hitting with a .355 average. Danny had 121 hits in 91 games including 32 doubles and 5 home runs.
Nick Salotti led the league in home runs with 23 for Worcester a year after he hit 10. He finished just ahead of teammate Chris Colabello who finished 2nd with 20.
Keith Brachold of Brockton led the league in RBI with 80 finishing just ahead of Chris Colabello (79).
On the pitching side of things, Zach Zuercher (Worcester) led the league in wins with 14 just ahead of New Jersey’s Isaac Pavilk (13).
Isaac Pavlik (New Jersey) led the league in strikeouts with 112. He also finished 3rd in ERA at 2.73.
The ERA crown went to New Jersey’s James Leverton who had a 2.38 mark.
Pittsfield Colonials right handed pitcher Patrick Moran won the Rookie of the Year award finishing tied for 3rd in wins with 11 and 10th in ERA at 3.62.
Player of the Year went to Worcester Tornadoes infielder Chris Colabello. Colabello finished in the top 3 in 12 offensive categories. He batted .348 with 20 home runs, 79 RBI, 127hits, 75 runs, and 32 doubles. He had a slugging percentage of .600 and a .410 on-base percentage.
There will be some changes in 2012 as the Can-Am League and the American Association announced that the two leagues will play interlocking schedules. The Can-Am League will adopt the American Association’s 100 game schedule while 5 teams from each league will make 10-game road trips to play teams from the other league.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.