Quebec had a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning when longtime hometown favorite Eddie Lantigua blasted a three-run home run. But this time it was for the visiting team.
Lantigua, who married a Quebec girl and has called that French-speaking city home for a decade or so, was the face of the Capitales for much of the last decade. He hit 117 homers while playing exclusively for Quebec from 2002-2009, and he had hit nine in his first stint in that city in 1999.
But with his overall skills diminishing and primarily only the ability to hit a fastball remaining, Lantigua, now 37, did not play last season. He is back now, but wearing a Federals uniform.
One can only imagine the thrill the Lantigua blow gave Manager Skip Nathanson and his roster of mostly youthful hopefuls on the Federals' first night in the league.
WHAT IS IN THE FUTURE FOR FORMER ATLANTIC LEAGUE MVP?
It was only in yesterday's Independent Baseball Insider column when I had the opportunity to single out two-time Atlantic League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Jeff Nettles for becoming the league's all time leader in runs batted in.
Now for an update on another of the Somerset (NJ) Patriots' postseason MVPs who, like Nettles, played third base.
Brandon Larson, the Cincinnati Reds' top draft choice in 1997 and their opening day third baseman in 2003, ended his playing career by winning MVP honors in Somerset's fourth of five Atlantic League championships in '08.
With Richard Oliver of The San Antonio Express-News providing the details, we learned that Larson is finishing up a degree at the University of Texas-San Antonio and coaching a couple of select high school baseball teams as he eyes a career as a college coach.
"I'm just trying to be a good coach, a good daddy and an ex-good baseball player," Larson told Oliver. It seems he is well on his way. Larson and wife Denise are raising Denise's daughter and expecting their own baby girl come September.
While injuries helped limit the San Angelo, TX native to 109 major league games, Larson finished his 12-year pro career in style in that 2008 season with a 30-home run, 95-RBI regular season with the Patriots, then capped it all off when Somerset toppled Camden, NJ in the four-game Championship Series.
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