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Boulders Start Road Swing Dropping Two of Three in Quebec

The Rockland Boulders embarked on a six-game Canadian road trip last week starting with a three game set against the Quebec Capitales.

In the first game, the Capitales quickly tagged Rockland starting pitcher Bo Budkevics for four runs in the first inning. Quebec would pad its leads scoring once in the fourth and twice more in the fifth to put the game away for good.

Jonathan Malo and Yurisbel Gracial each drove in three runs apiece. Budkevics went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering seven runs on eleven hits while striking out seven. Jared McDonald drove in the lone run for the Boulders.

“All in all just a tough day,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We didn’t arrive in Quebec City until 6:30 p.m. and started at 7:45. We swung the bats well but they just happened to find the holes and they hit second base on a routine double play ball that deflected into left field as we would have been out of the first down one.”

In game two of the series, Junior Arrojo got the Boulders on the board in the third, driving in his 14th run of the season with an RBI single that scored Luis Parache. Quebec answered back in the bottom of the fourth on a hit and run play allowing Kailan Sams to cross home plate. The Capitales had runners on the corner with two outs but Rockland starting pitcher Richard Salazar fanned Gracial to end the inning.

Jonathan Malo continued to pile up the numbers crushing a solo home run off Salazar leading off the sixth. Edgar Valle replaced Salazar in the seventh and Quebec went to work scoring three times. The Capitales added three more in the eighth including a two-run base hit from Malo.

Rockland avoided the sweep in the rubber match of the series thanks to the heroics off Jared Schlehuber clobbering a solo shot leading off the tenth inning lifting the Boulders to a 5-4 victory. Donnie Joseph worked around a dicey situation in the bottom half of the frame with runners on first and second and one out to record his first save of the season while Hector Helo registered his first win of the season. Pat Butler worked three scoreless innings.

Mike Schwartz gave the Boulders a 4-2 lead in the ninth, belting an RBI double to the left field wall scoring Parache but Jared McDonald was thrown out at the plate attempting to score. Hector Nelo came on to pitch the 9th but things quickly unraveled as Adam Ehrlich reached on error committed by Arrojo and Nelo issued a walk to Roel Santos. Both runners moved up a base on a passed ball. Malo delivered an RBI ground out scoring Ehrlich cutting the lead down to 4-3. Gracial followed with a sac fly to right bringing in Malo to tie the game up at 4-4.

The Boulders jumped right out of the gate in the first on an RBI double from Brian Ragira. Quebec responded in the second on a two-run double by Derrick Pyles. Rockland starting pitcher David Fischer faced a jam in the third as the Capitales had runners on second and third with one out but Fischer reared back and struck out Lachian Fontaine and Scott David to end the inning.

In the fourth, Fischer faced the same dilemma and did not back down getting Malo to fly out and whiffing Gracial. Rockland second baseman Ray Frias led off the fifth with a single and advanced to second on a ground out. McDonald ripped a single to right bringing in Frias tying the game up at 2-2.

“A battle as always up there in Quebec City but a much needed and deserved win for the Boulders,” said Keefe.

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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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