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Boulders Split Four Game Series With Jackals

Boulders remain in first place.

Despite getting outscored 19-7 and dropping the middle games of a four-game set against the New Jersey Jackals, the Rockland Boulders managed to gain a split and remain atop the Can-Am League standings.

In the series opener, New Jersey raced out to an early 6-0 lead spearheaded by a four-run second inning. However, the Boulders methodically chipped away at the lead. Charlie Law walloped a 2-run double to left center in the 4th putting Rockland on the board. After the Jackals made it 7-2 in the bottom half on an RBI triple off the bat of pinch hitter Matt Helms, Ryan Fisher roped a 2-run double down the right field line in the Top 6th reducing the deficit to 7-3. Alex DeBellis cranked a two-out run producing single bringing in Fisher cutting it to 7-4.

“The guys just don’t give in but time after time it just takes one to come back to get the lead back late,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “Obviously every single at bat was huge but the 7th inning is where it got us to be. Stephen Cardullo’s sac bunt a big difference in the game allowing runners to move up. Everybody coming out of the bullpen today was lights out.”

With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in the 7th, Rockland received another clutch two-out hit this time from Joe Maloney ripping a 2-run double into center making it a one run contest. The decisive blow came in the 8th as Jared McDoanld smoked a clutch two-out 2-run double down the right field line into the bullpen area putting the Boulders on top for the first time 8-7. Closer Luis Sanz posted a scoreless ninth to record his 8th save of the season. Marcus Jensen(3-1) worked two innings to pick up the victory in relief.

“We never quit which was the biggest thing for us,” said Jared McDonald. “We got down early but there was a lot of game left and we just chipped away.”

The series shifted to Provident Bank Park for Game 2 where Rockland jumped out to a 4-1 lead after three innings only to see the lead dissipate as New Jersey scored three times between the third and fourth innings.

With the bases loaded up in the 5th, Daniel Carela walked Tony Caldwell forcing in a run giving the Jackals a 5-4 lead. New Jersey broke the game wide open in the 7th on a 2-run triple from Jamal Austin followed an Anthony Gomez RBI single. Mark Threlkeld added a 2-run shot in the 7th ballooning the margin to 10-4. The Boulders rallied in the 8th with the bases loaded Jared McDonald lifted a fly ball down the left field line that was inexplicably dropped by Austin allowing two runs to score but Giuseppe Papaccio attempting to score was cut down at the plate on a strong throw from Austin to Caldwell.

In Game 3, both teams ventured up to Cooperstown, New York home of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame Museum to play in the “Cooperstown Classic” at Doubleday Field. Scoreless through three innings of play, New Jersey broke through in the fourth inning and AJ-Kirby Jones provided the signature moment bashing a grand slam off Rockland starting pitcher Rich Salazar in the fifth giving the Jackals a 5-0 lead. Mark Threlkeld’s bases clearing in the 7th put the game out of reach.

The Boulders sprinted out to an early 2-0 lead in the rubber game of the series only to see New Jersey tie the game up at 2-2 in the 4th on a RBI single from Peter Mooney. Rockland starting pitcher Nathaniel Roe worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 5th getting Matt Helms to pop out ending the inning. Daniel Carela entered the game in the 6th and with the bases juiced again reared back and struck out Mark Threlkeld plus getting Leandro Castro to pop out keeping the game tied at 2-2.

In the 7th inning is where Rockland took advantage of the wildness of new Jackals pitcher Donnie Joseph. With the bases loaded, Joseph plunked Junior Arrojo bringing in Stefen Henderson for the go-ahead run. Joseph hit the next batter Stephen Cardullo forcing in another run to make it 4-2. With Joe Maloney up at the plate, Joseph uncorked a wild pitch allowing Jared McDonald to scamper home increasing the lead to 5-2. Joseph drilled Marcus Nidiffer bringing home the fourth run of the inning. The scoring was not over with as Ryan Fisher walked expanding the margin to 7-2. An RBI ground out to third from Charlie Law made it 8-2. Steve Nyisztor capped the scoring clubbing a two-run producing single to left center.

“It was a gutsy win and we stuck to the plan to get ourselves into a hitters count,” said Keefe. “Great at bats led to the 8-run inning.”

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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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