Connect with us


Boulders Finish Regular Season By Sweeping Sussex County

Photo by Sunil Sunder Raj

Photo by Sunil Sunder Raj


The Rockland Boulders finished the 2015 regular season by sweeping the Sussex County Miners at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, New Jersey. Rockland (63-34) earned its franchise-record best 63rd win of the season. Manager Jamie Keefe was named Can-Am League Manager of the Year for the second straight season and third time in his managerial career. Joe Maloney took home Can-Am League Player Of The Year honors.

Next up for the Boulders is a first round playoff series vs. Trois-Riveries Aigles starting on Wednesday. Games 1 & 2 will be played at Stade Fernand-Bédard in Quebec City before the series shifts to Provident Bank for Game 3 on Friday night.

“It’s an honor but it’s all about those 23 guys in the clubhouse and coaching staff that have gotten me to this point,” said Jamie Keefe. “These guys leave out on the field every single day. This is another honor to add to the trophy case but the real goal is to the reach the end and win our last game of the year.”

“Getting that award is awesome and an honor to be recognized for the hard work I put in and season I had,” said Joe Maloney.

In the series opener, the game went back and forth with the Miners holding a 7-4 lead entering the 8th inning.  Rockland’s offense went to work with Junior Arrojo roping a single to center scoring Steve Nyisztor making it 7-5. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, Stephen Cardullo tied a Can-Am league record for most doubles in a season by a player with 34, smashing a 2-run double down the right field line tying the game up at 7-7. Joe Maloney followed crushing a double over the head of Johnny Bladel in center bringing in Cardullo for the go-ahead run.

Jared McDonald drove in a key insurance run in the 9th with a bloop single to left scoring Alex DeBellis. The Miners mounted a threat in the ninth putting runners at the corner and 2 outs but Luis Sanz rose to the occasion striking out Brady Wilson to end the game and register his 18th save of the season. Pat Butler(1-0) picked up his first win of the year.

The Boulders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 1st inning with RBI singles from Cardullo and Charlie Law. However, Fray Martinez plagued by control issues and throwing the ball away on a bunt by Jayson Hernandez on a bunt down the third base line in the 2nd scoring Wilson nodding the game up at 2-2. Jamal Austin looped a single to right scoring Hernandez giving Sussex County a 3-2 advantage.

In the 4th, Jared MacDonald hammered up a single back up the middle with Steve Nyisztor rounding third and beating the thrown at home evening the game at 3-3. Cardullo laced a double down the left line scoring McDonald as Rockland reclaimed the lead at 4-3. The Miners wasted little time tying the game up at 4-4 as Austin knocked in his 2nd run of the game with a ground out scoring Wilson.

Stephen Harrold took over the pitching duties in the sixth inning and with the bases loaded unloaded a wild pitch scoring Hernandez. Kenny Bryant stepped up next and bounced a high chopper to Charlie Law at first who threw to 2nd and on the return throw to 1st by Junior Arrojo unbelievably two runs scored on the play as Sussex County increased the margin to 7-4.

The Boulders defense flashed the leather throughout the game.  In the bottom of the 1st Devin Thaut lined a single to left, Stephen Cardullo came up firing throwing out Johnny Bladel at home. On a hard ground ball hit to the Giuseppe Papaccio in the 2nd off the bat of Bladel, Papaccio threw home as Joe Maloney applied the tag on Jamal Austin. Fresh off his dazzling catch on Thursday night at home against Ottawa that made Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays of the night, Jared McDonald made another spectacular diving catch in left center gap robbing Thaut of an extra base hit.

Joe Maloney sparked the offense in game 2 of the series knocking home in four runs and Marcus Jensen(8-2) dazzled on the mound tossing seven shutout innings while yielding only two hits and striking out two. Maloney got things started in the 4th with an RBI double scoring Steve Nyisztor. In the sixth an RBI single brought in Jared McDonald. Maloney clubbed his 14th home run, a 2-run shot in the 9th and 83rd RBI of the season. Ryan Stovall added an RBI single in the inning.

“Marcus was just awesome throwing 72 pitches and staying ahead of the hitters,” said Keefe. “I have never had an MVP before and Joe has matured som much as a baseball player. I am very proud of the hard work he has put especially coming back from a tough injury. He deserves every accolade and we’re happy for him.”

Rockland fell behind early in the rubber match of the series as the Miners tagged Stephen Harrold for two runs in the 1st inning. In the 3rd inning, Miners starting pitcher Francisco Rodriguez had trouble locating the strike zone ending up walking 3 batters in a row including Marcus Nidiffer with the bases loaded as the Boulders trimmed the lead to 2-1. The biggest hit of the inning came off the bat of Ryan Stovall, ripping a 2-out 2-run single to center giving Rockland the lead for good.

“It’s a pretty exciting end to the year and now the work begins,” said Keefe. “Harrold is feeling comfortable again and has control of the pitches.”

The floodgates opened up in the 5th with Stephen Cardullo leading off mashing his 9th homer of the season deep over the left field wall. Joe Maloney followed with a walk and Charlie Law doubled to the left field wall. Stovall tacked on his 3rd RBI of the game grounding out to third bringing home Maloney making it 5-2. Steve Nyisztor fisted a single down the right field line scoring Law pushing the lead to 6-2. Nyisztor capped off the scoring in the 7th with a base hit to center scoring Law.

“It just comes from having good at bats and being unselfishly,” said Ryan Stovall.

Meanwhile, Stephen Harrold settled down after surrendering the first inning runs retiring 11 hitters at one point. Harrold(8-5)tossed seven innings to record his eighth win of the season.

“It’s been awhile since I have been out there since I started so it felt good,” said Stephen Harrold. “I just wanted to pound the zone and get early outs. The offense has been there all year long and had my back.”

The following two tabs change content below.

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.
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Baseball