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Boulders in 0-2 hole after 7-2 loss to Quebec

The Rockland Boulders ended Game 2 of the Can-Am League Championship Series with a 7-2 loss.

Rockland Boulders

(Rockland Boulders vs. Quebec Capitales. Photo Credit: Drew Wohl)

After dropping Game One of the Can-Am League Championship Series, the Rockland Boulders looked to tie up the series. How? With the ace of the pitching staff, Justin Topa, on the mound.

Last Friday, Topa looked invincible hurling a complete game 4-hitter masterpiece versus the New Jersey Jackals in the semifinals. The Boulders lost Game One against the Quebec Capitales at Palisades Credit Union Park on Tuesday night.

A couple of nifty defensive plays from Joe Maloney and Mike Fransoso kept the game scoreless through three innings. However, that would change in the fourth. Quebec center-fielder Kalian Sams lit up the scoreboard blasting a two-run shot into the left center grandstand. Sam is second in the league with 23 home runs during the regular season.

The Capitales were not done scoring in the inning. They scored twice more on a line drive hit by James McOwen down the right field corner. With Maxx Tissenbaum dashing home from first, attempting to cut down McOwen at third base on a throw from Tice. The throw to Cody Regis the ball skipped by the bag allowing McOwen to coast home.

On this night, Sams proved to be a tough out, lacing a two-out RBI single into center field extending Quebec’s lead to 5-0 in the fifth. The lone bright spot for the Boulders would come off the bat of Mike Montville. By smashing a towering solo homer off a lower billboard sign in right center field in the bottom half of the frame.

Besides yielding the solo home run to Montville, Capitales starter Brett Lee kept Rockland in check the majority of the game. Lee was firing 8 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on six hits but even more impressive fanning 12 and walking one.

“Listen, we got beat by Madison Bumgarner [Brett Lee] tonight. He was awesome and hats off to him,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We really never had him on the ropes tonight. At the end of the day, hats off to him. He got the job done today.”

Topa exited the game after five innings permitting five runs. Four he earned on nine hits while whiffing three and walking none. Taking over the pitching duties in the sixth, Thomas Lawrence spun two shutout innings before Sams put the exclamation point on the victory for Quebec slugging a two-run bomb out of the ballpark in left field. After throwing 121 pitches, 78 for strikes Lee departed with two outs in the ninth. Will Dennis came on to the pitch and retired Joe Maloney on a fly out to end the game.

“We have to play our game and our backs against the wall,” Keefe said. “[the Boulders] have to go up there with no pressure. We saw it last year being on the other side so we know it’s possible and it happens. We have some of the best arms left in our rotation to go and do this thing. This is where we are at and nothing we can do about it. The team will go down fighting. Everything we have been through this year with injuries to Richard [Salazar] and Marcus [Nidiffer] missing 76 games together, Cody [Regis] 25 games, Fransoso and Jon [Smith] 75.”

“We had guys step up and do the job. Some of these guys will be called on again, especially the younger guys. We know we have to play well up there. They [Quebec] are scared of us up there because our power can take over a game like that. Their power has gotten them here today. We have to leave it all on the field.”

Next Up

Game 3 is on Thursday night at Stade Canac with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

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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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