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Boulders First Place Lead Shrinks After 7-6 Loss to Jackals

The Rockland Boulders led the New Jersey Jackals 6-3 entering the 6th inning at Provident Bank Park on Tuesday but quickly saw that lead disappear as the Jackals scored four times defeating Rockland 7-6 and move within a half-game of the Boulders in the Can-Am League standings.

“That’s a tough one right there to swallow as Alex was in control there for awhile but just lost his fastball command late in the 4th, 5th and 6th” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “ A misplayed ball in the infield leads to them hanging a 4-spot” added Keefe. “They threw the ball well enough to beat us today” “The big plus Charlie with a big hit and 5 RBI’s today”

Peter Mooney drilled a 2-run blast off Rockland starting pitcher Alex Gouin into the right center bleachers giving New Jersey the lead for good. The Boulders led 6-3 entering the Top 6th; Justin Trapp reached on an infield single with 2 outs. Matt Helms followed knocking a single through the hole into left field. Tony Caldwell stepped up next and clubbed a 2-run RBI double into the right center gap making it a one run contest.

Rockland squandered a pair of chances to tie up the game in the 8th and 9th innings. In the 8th, Alex DeBellis singled through the hole into right field but Ryan Fisher attempt to take third play was cut down on a rifle throw from Helms to Threlkeld who applied the tag. In the 9th inning, with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs New Jersey closer Brandon Sisk got Marcus Nidiffer to fly out to shallow right field ending the ball game.

The bottom of the 1st started out on a bang as Jackals starting pitcher John Walter plunked Junior Arrojo and Stephen Cardullo that set off an exchange of words with Cardullo causing both benches to empty out onto the field. Order was eventually restored and Walter proceeded to strike out Joe Maloney and Marcus Nidiffer. However, Charlie Law changed everything with one swing of the bat clocking a grand slam into the right field bleachers, Law’s 8th round tripper of the season.

In the 4th inning, New Jersey got on the scoreboard on a Jared Schlehuber RBI double down the third base line scoring AJ Kirby-Jones. Rockland responded quickly in the bottom half of the frame as Jared McDonald ripped an RBI single to right field brining Ryan Fisher around to score increasing the lead to 5-1.

The Jackals answered back in the Top 5th catching a break on a blistering line drive off the bat of Mooney that ended up being misplayed by Joe Maloney with the ball bouncing over the Short Porch wall in right field. Kirby-Jones followed smoking a 2-run homer onto the concourse in left field trimming the deficit to 5-3. Rockland answered in a flash in the bottom half of the inning as Law drove in his fifth run of the gam bouncing a chopper off the glove of Threlkeld at third base and down the left field line for a double bringing in Cardullo from second making it 6-3.

Alex Gouin(4-2) absorbed the loss giving up seven runs, five of them earned on nine hits in six innings of work while walking two and striking out two. Despite yielding six runs on five hits and walking four, New Jersey starting pitcher John Walter fanned 10 Boulders to earn the victory. All together Jackals pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.

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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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