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Boulders late rally falls short in Game 1 loss to Quebec

“At the end of the day you can’t think you’re going to give up seven runs in the first two innings and win the ball game,” said Rockland Boulders Manager Jamie Keefe after Game 1. “A tough way to start, bottom line.”

In game one of the 2017 Can-Am League Championship Series at Palisades Credit Union Park, the Quebec Capitales jumped out of the gates immediately in the first inning. After Yordan Manduley and Yurisbel Gracial reached on infield singles, Jordan Lennerton crushed a three-run moonshot on to the concourse in right field off Rockland starter Bo Budkevics.

Having hit two for 15 in the series against the New Jersey Jackals, captain Marcus Nidiffer broke out of the slump with an RBI triple into the left center gap. However, the momentum would be short lived as the Capitales poured it on in the second inning tacking on four additional runs highlighted by Lennerton’s two-run single into centerfield. Budkevics night was finished having surrendered seven runs on nine hits and walking one. Keefe handed the ball off to Nick Sarianides.

Another player mired in a slump, Can-Am League Player of the Year Joe Maloney (3 for 4, 2 runs scored), snapped out of his funk walloping a solo blast off Quebec starter Lazaro Blanco into the Short Porch area in right field in the third. Utilizing the 312-foot distance in right field, the Boulders continued their assault in the fourth with Cody Regis smoking his second homer in the last two games and third overall in the playoffs. One batter later Jared McDonald went yard into the Short Porch clubbing a drive down into the corner.

“We saw the ball well tonight and when was the last time we had 10 or 11 hits in a game,” Keefe said. “Blanco was good early but we got to him and made some mistakes and swung the bats very well.”

Meanwhile, Sarianides kept the game from getting out of hand hurling 3 2/3 shutout innings fanning three and yielding one hit. Despite being plunked on the head on an errant throw by home plate umpire Rich Katz Sarianides maintained his composure.

Limited to just one hit in the first round of the playoffs, Mike Fransoso (3 for 5, 1 run scored) led off the fifth socking a solo shot into the jackpot part of the ball park on this night, the Short Porch in right field. Attempting to cut further into the lead, the Boulders had a golden scoring opportunity loading up the bases with two outs but Blanco reared back and struck out Mike Montville.

Matt Kostalos entered the game in the sixth and picked up where Sarianides left off spinning three shutout innings while whiffing three and retiring eight in a row at one point before hitting Capitales catcher Maxx Tissenbaum in the eighth. In Rockland’s last chance at tying the game up came in the ninth with a runner on and Joe Maloney facing Can-Am League Relief Pitcher of the Year Nolan Becker who registered 22 saves but Becker got Maloney to fly out to center ending the game.

“Sarianides and Kostalos were awesome tonight,” Keefe said. “Frustrated last couple of innings about the pitches we took and not going to say anything about the officiating but we could have had a couple of better situations. With Jon (Smith) back in the lineup, even though he struggled it’s a different lineup and you have to pitch to everybody.”

Game 2 of the Can-Am League Championship Series at Palisades Credit Union Park is on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.

“Facing a lefty and going to put a lot of right-handed bats in the lineup,” Keefe said “There is no must win until our backs are against the wall and we have to give it an opportunity going up there 1-1.”

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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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