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Boulders split doubleheader against Quebec

Once again Mother Nature wreaked havoc with the Rockland Boulders home schedule at Palisades Credit Union Park, Tuesday’s postponement due to rain forced the Boulders to play their second doubleheader in four days. Not only having to play Game 1 of the twin bill at 10:30 a.m. but against the defending Can-Am League Champions in the Quebec Capitales.

In Game 1, Rockland starting pitcher Ryan Deemes and Quebec starter Karl Gelinas engaged in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel for the first three innings. The Capitales managed to break the deadlock in the fourth on a close play. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brad Antchak hit a slow grounder to shortstop JC Rodriguez who came up firing to first base but Antchak just crossed the bag before the ball hit first baseman Conrad Gregor’s glove.

In the bottom half of the frame, the red-hot Cody Regis having bashed a pair of home runs in a doubleheader on Sunday against Sussex County continued his onslaught smashing a solo shot just fair inside of the foul pole in right field.

Manager Jamie Keefe on Cody Regis hitting, “About as pretty as a swing I have seen him take. He is contained, cut down his swing with two strikes and made all the difference in the world. When you get you bat out in front in this ball park and that strong of a man the ball is going to go far and he has been able to master that Short Porch”

Deemes departed the game after four innings allowing one run on five hits. Rockland’s defense played a pivotal role in the contest, after James McOwen led off the sixth with a single off Nick Kennedy; Josh Vitters followed drilling a liner into the right center gap. However, centerfield Mike Montville tracked down the ball with a sensational full extension diving grab. McOwen reached second base on a wild pitch, Keefe called upon Marc Huberman who struck out Lachlan Fontaine.

That set the wheels in the motion in the bottom of the sixth with Gelinas exiting the game, Kevin Karuse drew a lead off walk against Will Dennis, Regis hammered a single to right field as Krause scampered on to third base. Next stepped up Marcus Nidiffer, knocking a two-run double into the left center gap.

“He was trying to get something into the air in that at bat and guy leaves a slider up and he is able to get out in front and found some good ground and knock in two that is huge for us. The guy has done it for a long time and know what he is doing.”

Attempting to close it out in the seventh, Keefe signaled for Garrett Johnson. The Capitales refused to go away quietly trimming the lead down to 3-2 after Antchak scored on a throwing error by Rodriguez. Matt Kostalos took over the pitching duties with runners on first and second, fanning Kalian Sams first. After walking McOwen to load up the bases, Kostalos secured his first save of the season inducing Vitters into a fly out to left field.

“Matt (Kostalos) came in and threw strikes, gave up a couple of hits but didn’t get behind the count, said Keefe. A big strikeout and fly ball to end it.”

Game 2 did not start off on the right foot for Boulders starting pitcher Thomas Lawrence. Quebec tagged Lawrence for four runs in the first run, aided by a pair of errors committed by third baseman Cody Regis that led to a three-run home run from James McOwen. The Capitales did not step off the gas pedal tacking on six additional runs in the next three innings.

Not wanting to tax the bullpen any further after David Palladino exited the game with an undisclosed injury, Keefe handed the ball off to first baseman Mikael Mogues. Just when it seemed the contest would get out of hand further, Mogues sparkled on the mound hurling three shutout innings while yielding two hits, walking two and striking out one.

“Tommy (Lawrence) didn’t have it, you bring out Mo (Mogues) and we couldn’t ask for anymore that that and awesome,” Keefe said. “He did a nice job and had him throwing this spring. A really good athlete and can do a lot of things. No idea how big that can be down the stretch.”

On the flipside Regis continued to swing a sizzling bat crushing his fourth hone run of the season and second in the twin bill while JC Rodriguez clubbed his second round tripper.

“We’re still trying to find our identity right now but certainly like what I saw today,” said Keefe. “Guys are going to have rough starts here and there but they fought and didn’t give up any at bats. One or two swings from being back in it.”

“The middle of our line up is certainly different today, Rylan (Sandoval) and Conrad (Gregor) give us firepower, wisdom on the field, help with positioning and good base running. We became a lot better today and that is most important. We have an opportunity to go into tomorrow and win the series and all we can ask for.”

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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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