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Boulders drop two of three on the road at Quebec to Capitales

After getting swept by their local rival, Rockland’s struggles continued as they lost two of three to the Capitales on the road.

After winning eight of ten at Palisades Credit Union Park, the Rockland Boulders hit a rough patch after getting swept by the New Jersey Jackals. Unfortunately for the Boulders, there was no time to rest with a 5:30 a.m. bus trip up to Quebec on Friday morning.

Displaying no effects of fatigue, the Boulders came out swinging in the series opener at State Canac belting three home runs. Jake Zokan (2-3) hurled five innings before giving way to Nick Kennedy, Tim Ponto, Robbie Gordon, and James Mulry. There were some anxious moments in the bottom of the ninth as the Capitales loaded up the bases. Mulry closed it on a force out at third base to earn his first save of the season. Zokan registered his second win.

Rockland’s (33-31) offense struggled the next two games mustering just four runs while leaving 12 runners on base (21 overall in the series). JD Busfield turned in a strong performance on the mound Saturday night tossing six shutout innings, yielding five hits and striking out five. He left with a no-decision as Quebec won in ten innings 2-1.

In the series finale, the Boulders power was on full display. Richie Fecteau went yard for a second time, increasing his season total to ten. Matt Oberste smacked his ninth home run. In the series, Fecteau went 5- for-14 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Oberste was 6-for-14 with two runs and two RBIs. Luis Cedeno went five innings surrendering four runs on six hits, walking two and allowing a home run. Landon Holifield spun three shutout innings while whiffing five. The Rockland bats went ice cold against Quebec relief pitching managing just one hit in the last three innings as the Capitales (27-42) won 4-3.

Manager Kevin Baez on the series: “The first game we took the long bus trip and came out and got the W. That was great and I was proud of the guys. The second game was a ‘pitchers’ duel and we ‘couldn’t put a couple of runs across and came up with an extra-innings loss. In the third game, it was a tough loss. We had a couple of chances to get runs there, but we ‘couldn’t put it across. A credit to their pitching.”

“When you are winning games you are doing the little things whether getting the guy over or getting a guy in with less than two outs and in scoring position. We were doing that and winning ball games, but now ‘we’re not doing that. We are getting pretty decent pitching but not doing the things to win ball games.”

On Richie ‘Fecteau’s play: “No question he has been a guy all year we always felt good about and felt this kid could hit and getting opportunities. He gives you a couple of good games. The batting average is not there but he has some good pop in the bat. With Katsuya and Brontsema out he stepped in and did a good job with the bat and glove. He was a guy we looked at the beginning of the year and thought he could do some things.”

Sitting in fourth place in the Can-Am League, the Boulders welcome the New Jersey Jackals (37-31), winners of six games in a row. In last week’s series finale at Yogi Berra Stadium, emotions boiled over as both benches emptied in the eighth inning. Two of three games will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park with the opener on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Afterward, Rockland remains at home taking on the Quebec Capitales in a three-game set.

“With a day off, playing a good team in New Jersey and then Quebec coming in again,” said Baez. “We got about 25 games left and we have to put ourselves in a good position. You have to take it one game at a time and not look too far ahead. Hopefully what we did in our last homestand continues and good vibes playing at home.”

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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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