2023 Evansville Otters vs Quebec Capitales

Frontier League: Quebec, Evansville To Play For The League Title

Frontier League: Quebec, Evansville To Play For The League Title

Here’s a look back at what went down during the Frontier League’s Divisional Series, with the Quebec Capitales and Evansville Otters emerging victorious.

Sep 12, 2023 by Leanza Pieroni
Frontier League: Quebec, Evansville To Play For The League Title

Quebec Capitales. Evansville Otters.

East vs. West. New blood vs. a Frontier League institution. The reigning champions vs. a past, rejuvenated power.

After this weekend’s completion of the Frontier’s Divisional Series round of the playoffs, we finally, after months of regular season play and a competitive postseason, have the two teams who will battle it out across a maximum of five games to decide who will be crowned the Frontier League’s champion for the 2023 season.

The two clubs left got to the final series of the Frontier season in differing ways, but they’re each at this point nonetheless. For Quebec, a title would only strengthen its claim of being the league’s team to beat, both currently and for the foreseeable future, since the Can-Am/Frontier merger prior to the 2020 season. For Evansville, a title would bring glory once again to a team that’s been loyal to the Frontier through thick and thin across three different decades — and be a storybook ending to what’s been a remarkable playoff run.

All that’s left now is to soak in the remaining baseball, watch the sparks fly, and enjoy.

Here’s a look back at what went down during the Frontier League’s Divisional Series, with the Quebec Capitales and Evansville Otters emerging victorious as they’ll play on FloBaseball for a league championship starting with Game 1 at 7:05 p.m. (ET) Tuesday:

Repeat Bid Rolls on For Quebec

It took a little bit for Quebec to finally get adapted to the Frontier as a standalone unit after it first joined the league along with much of the rest of the Can-Am League for the 2020 season, then COVID-19 prevented it from making Quebec City the team’s only home base for two more seasons. But as the Capitales have shown, they’ve ruled the Frontier by and large since they were finally allowed to let loose. 

Now, after defeating the New Jersey Jackals in three games in the East Divisional Series, they’re back in the Championship Series and ready to push for another league title. Last year’s Frontier champs shared the league’s best record for the second straight season and earned the bye in the East yet again, with the Jackals (who tied the Capitales for the league’s top mark at 60-35) winning the division’s Wild Card game for the right to face Quebec after they missed out on the East’s No. 1 seed due to it winning the regular season series. And even when New Jersey seemingly had Quebec on the ropes in the Divisional round with a walk-off, extra-inning Game 1 win, the Capitales then brought the claws out. 

The Jackals led 2-0 in the fifth inning of Game 2, needing just a few more solid innings to play for a title for the first time since they joined the Frontier, but Quebec then erupted for 14 unanswered runs — including 10 in the sixth inning alone — as both Greg Bird and Juremi Profar blasted home runs during the onslaught. New Jersey took the lead first again in the winner-take-all Game 3 on Sunday, but much like the previous day’s game, it was a matter of when the Capitales were going to start cooking, not if. A five-run second was matched with a five-run fifth as Quebec cruised to the Championship Series with a 15-6 victory. Bird, Justin Gideon, Ruben Castro, and Jesmuel Valentin all had multiple RBIs in the decider while starter Ruben Ramirez went five solid innings (two earned runs allowed, seven strikeouts) to keep the Jackals’ heavy hitters at bay. 

A familiar spot for Quebec is ahead, and with a squad that’s been the best in each of the past two seasons, it should expect nothing less than to keep its perfect record in the Frontier’s Championship Series going.

Otters Stay On It, Move to Finals

While Quebec made it to the Championship Series by way of making its path there easier and blowing its Divisional Series opponent out of the water, Evansville’s road to the Championship Series — which it returns to for the first time since the Otters won it all in 2016 — was a little bumpier. Still, the Otters got to the Championship Series all the same, and as the West’s representative, they’re here to try and put on a show in the final games of the Frontier season. 

Evansville, the third seed in the West, had to win a Wild Card game over the Schaumburg Boomers on the road (and just narrowly, too, by a 4-3 scoreline) to even get to the Divisional Series, where the West champion Gateway Grizzlies were waiting. The Otters then proceeded to win its two games in the series (Games 1 and 3) by a combined three runs; there was the epic 4-3 thriller in the opener in which first baseman Kona Quiggle smashed a two-run, walk-off homer to win it and get Evansville off on the right foot, and then there was the tense 9-7 affair in the deciding game in which the Grizzlies had the tying run at home plate with no one out, but Jake Polancic stayed calm and collected to deliver the save and get Evansville back to playing for a Frontier championship. 

However, the Otters wouldn’t be here without some of its star players putting up star performances. Outfielder Jeffery Baez has driven in at least one run in all four of the Otters’ playoff games, for instance, while outfield partner Noah Myers (recently named the Frontier’s Rookie of the Year Award winner) had a crucial two-run base hit in the fifth inning of Game 3 that made it, at the time, 9-3 to the Otters — giving Evansville the extra insurance that it needed to escape Gateway’s final rally attempt which made it a two-run game in the ninth inning. The Frontier’s oldest consecutively playing league team will now get a date with one of the league’s newest clubs for a shot at a title, and for Otters fans who’ve been along for the ride this season and in years past, they’ll hope to see the magic repeated and their team on top once again to end 2023.