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Boulders Drop Three of Four in Quebec

Losing streak ended but a new one starts.

The Rockland Boulders put an end to their slide at four games with a hard fought, 2-1, 11 innings victory on Saturday against the Quebec Capitales at Le Stade Municipal but still dropped three out of four games in the series.

“Stephen Harrold, Bo Budkevics and JD Reichenach had all good starts plus the bullpen is starting to come around as well,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We faced three good lefty’s up here. Our defense hurt us in game one and we were a pitch away from winning in game two but finally broke through on Saturday night.”

With the International Extra Innings Rule in effect starting in the top of the 11th on Saturday, Charlie Law started at second base. After moving over to third on a sac bunt by Giuseppe Papaccio, Law scored the go ahead run on a sac fly to right field by Junior Arrojo. Fray Martinez entered as the new Boulders pitcher in the bottom of the 11th. The Capitales loaded up the bases but Martinez shut the door getting Jean-Luc Blaquiere to pop up to center field and Tanner Rust to fly out to left field ending the game.

Marcus Nidiffer not only homered for the third time in the series but a Can-Am League leading 7th round tripper, smashing a solo shot over the 370 ft. sign in left center field in the top of the 2nd giving Rockland 1-0 lead. Stephen Cardullo continued make highlight reel catches chasing down a line drive down the left field line before crashing into the wall to make the grab.

Starting Boulders pitcher JD Reichenbach held Quebec scoreless through the first 5 innings yielding only four hits. Nathaniel Roe replaced Reichenbach in the 6th. Tyler Young led off with a double and scored on a RBI double to the right center field gap by Josue Peley tying the game up at 1-1.

In the first game of the series, Marcus Nidiffer provided all the offense for Rockland socking two home runs, a two-run laser shot in the top of the 2nd that put the Boulders ahead 2-0 and solo shot in the 9th. However, an error by Charlie Law on a throw to 3rd base in the bottom of the 4th allowed Quebec to score twice tying the game up at 2-2 and an RBI single by Tanner Rust gave the Capitales the lead 3-2.

Quebec managed to tack on another run aided by an error by Rockland starting pitcher Stephen Harrold on a potential inning-ending double play. Harrold fielded a ground ball hit back to the mound and spun around throwing to 2nd but threw wide of the bag.

The Boulders had a golden opportunity in the 8th loading up the bases but Stephen Cardullo popped up to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, new Rockland pitcher Alex Gouin struck out the first two batters he faced. However, the floodgates opened with the Capitales scoring four times on a single, two doubles and home run to break the game wide- open 8-2.

In the second game of the series, Rockland jumped to a 1-0 in the 2nd inning. The Boulders had a chance to add to the lead in the 4th loading up the bases but Steve Nyisztor grounded out to end the inning.

Quebec took the lead in the bottom of the 4th on a RBI double from Tim Smith and error on a grounder hit to Giuseppe Papaccio. Stephen Cardullo prevented further damage from occurring making a spectacular catch on a line drive hit to the warning track in left field and ended up crashing into the wall. Starting pitcher Bo Budkevics bore down in the 7th fanning Yordan Manduley with a runner on 3rd. Budkevics tossed seven innings surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out six.

The Boulders tied up the 8th inning as Charlie Law laced a RBI single into left field scoring pinch runner Stephen Henderson. In the bottom half of the inning is when chaos erupted as the Capitales regained the lead 3-2 on a controversial play at home plate. On a ground ball hit by Tim Smith back up the middle into center field, Jared McDonald came up firing to the plate and appeared at first Tyler Young was out at home plate but the umpire ruled him safe. Manager Jamie Keefe came out to argue the call and after a heated exchange was ejected from the game. Quebec loaded up the bases but Fray Martinez escaped the jam getting a strike out and ground out.

Down to their last out in 9th, Stephen Henderson’s hustle down the 1st base line on a grounder hit to the third base allowed Jared McDonald to cross home plate tying the game up at 3-3. Luis Sanz got the first two outs in the bottom of the 9th but the Capitales strung back-to-back singles plus an intentional walk issued by Sanz loaded up the bases. With Kalian Sams up at the plate, Sanz uncorked a wild pitch enabling Tyler Young to cross home plate giving Quebec a 4-3 win.

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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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