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Boulders Drop Three of Four to New Jersey

Boulders now lead by just 1/2 game

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Before starting their 4-game series at the New Jersey Jackals, the Rockland Boulders had a comfortable 3 ½ game lead over the Jackals but that margin was reduced to a half-game as New Jersey managed to swipe 3 out of the 4 games at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey.

In Game 1 of a scheduled doubleheader, the Boulders broke a 2-2 deadlock in the 4th inning on an RBI double by Charlie Law bringing in Marcus Nidiffer from first base. Steve Nyisztor slapped a single back up the middle as Law scored from second making it 4-2. Joe Maloney added some insurance in the 5th driving in his 3rd run of the game clubbing a double down the left field line scoring Jared McDonald.

“It was a good offensive start and we swung the bats well,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “Most important is getting Game 1 of the doubleheader,” added Keefe.

Rockland sprinted out of the gates in the 1st on solo blasts by McDonald and Maloney. New Jersey answered back in the bottom half of the frame with RBI singles from Leandro Castro and Jared Schlehuber to tie the game up at 2-2.

After yielding two early runs in the 1st inning, Richard Salazar settled down and at one point retiring 10 in a row with 5 strikeouts. Junior Arrojo provided sound defense in the 6th inning on a ground ball hit by Schlehuber firing off balance to first where Charlie Law caught the high throw and applied the tag to end the inning. Salazar went 6 innings surrendering two hits on four runs while striking out six to record his Can-Am League leading 7th victory of the season and lowering his E.R.A. to 2.42 that also leads the league.

“I was just trying to give the team a chance to win and had great offensive support,” said Richard Salazar.

In the nightcap, New Jersey snapped a 2-2 deadlock in the 6th on an RBI single from Jared Schlehuber scoring Leandro Castro. New Rockland pitcher Chad Robinson managed to keep it a one run game smartly covering home plate on a passed ball as Jared Schlehuber attempted to score from 3rd applying the tag on a flip throw from catcher Joe Maloney.  The Boulders loaded up the bases in the 7th but Stephen Cardullo lined out to left field ending the game.

Ryan Fisher got Rockland on the scoreboard in the 1st inning lacing a single to left scoring Jared McDonald. Marcus Nidiffer grounded into a double play bringing home Cardullo for the second run of the inning. The Jackals answered back in the 2nd on a bases loaded sac fly by Anthony Gomez. New Jersey tied the game up at 2-2 in the 4th on a Gomez RBI ground out to first base.

“A very well pitched game by Nathaniel Roe striking out six and walking only one” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “He was a hop away from giving up no runs in the game,” added Keefe. “A letdown because we had chance to score but couldn’t pull through”

In the 3rd game of the series, the were bolstered by home runs off the bats of Mark Threlkeld who bashed two home runs while Leandro Castro also got into the act smoking a solo homer off Boulders starting pitcher Stephen Harrold as New Jersey raced out to a 4-0 advantage. The lead would balloon to 6-1 in the 8th on solo shot from AJ Kirby-Jones.

However, the Boulders refused to go away quietly in the 9th piling up four consecutive hits from Charlie Law, Steve Nyisztor, Junior Arrojo and Giuseppe Papaccio plus a walk from Jared McDonald leading to two runs reducing New Jersey’s lead down to 6-3.

The pivotal moment of the contest occurred when Joe Maloney belted a shot down the third base line and into the corner with the bases loaded. Junior Arrojo and Giuseppe Papaccio came around to score but Jared McDonald attempt to tie the game up was thwarted at home plate on a strong throw from Jackals left fielder to catcher Tony Caldwell who applied the tag for the final out of the game.

In the series finale, New Jersey jumped on top in the 2nd scoring twice off Rockland starting pitcher Bo Budkevics with an RBI double from Jared Schlehuber and RBI ground out by Matt Helms.

The Boulders had a scoring opportunity in the top 3rd as Junior Arrojo led off with a double to left field and moved over to third base on a ground out by Giuseppe Papaccio. Jared McDonald grounded a ball to first as Arrojo digged for home but was thrown out on a strong throw from Mark Threlkeld.

In the 4th, Rockland had another chance loading up the bases. However, Charlie Law sharply lined back to Jackals starting pitcher Julio Rodriguez who doubled up Joe Maloney at third for the 1-5 double play. The Boulders did get another opportunity as Steve Nyisztor walked to load up the bases for a 2nd time in the inning and the following batter Junior Arrojo was hit by a pitch pushing across a run to make it 2-1.

Before the rains came and made it an official game, the Boulders had one last attempt to tie the game up in the Top 5th loading up the bases for a 3rd time but Charlie Law popped out to New Jersey second baseman Leandro Castro in shallow right field.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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