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Boulders find their power in sweep of Trois-Rivieres, extend home winning streak to 10 games

The Boulders hit 11 home runs in their three-game sweep of Trois-Rivieres at Palisades Credit Union Park.

We have yet to reach July 4th, but the Rockland Boulders provided plenty of early fireworks this past weekend against Trois-Rivieres at Palisades Credit Union Park. The Boulders slugged 11 home runs in the three-game series while scoring 29 runs on 40 hits. After shattering the club record for the most home runs in a season with 115 in 2017, the Boulders have bashed 71 in 42 games this year. Coupled with Sussex County getting swept by the Quebec Capitales, Rockland(24-18) moved to within three games of the first place Miners, while extending their home winning streak to 10 games.

On Military Appreciation Night on Saturday, the headline turned out to be starting pitcher Justin Brantley. Making his second start in a Boulders uniform, Brantley tossed a stellar seven innings on the mound yielding two runs on five hits and whiffing 12. In 13 innings on the hill, Brantley has struck out 20 hitters.

After bashing a solo shot in Friday’s win, Conor Bierfeldt kept the streak going cranking out two more home runs. Catcher Jason Agresti also went yard while driving in three runs. The relief duo of Matt Kostalos and Kyle Hansen shut the door hurling two shutout innings.

“Something we needed really badly, and he (Brantley) has been absolutely dominant,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “Nine of his 12 strikeouts, strike three on a fastball and his command is there and been electric for us. We have really needed someone to do that and stand up and excited to see him throw in five days. He couldn’t get a job coming out of spring training with anybody and place to play, threw for us a couple of times and we pulled the trigger on him and been everything we have been looking for and more.”

“This team is built for this ballpark and taken advantage of it offensively all year. Conor (Bierfeldt) is really doing well offensively right now. What he brings to the table on a daily basis is leading by example on the field. Hustling, playing a fantastic outfield, good arm and controlling the running game. He does so many small things and knows the game of baseball, smart and always has a smile on his face. He does not let the toughness of the game get to him.”

With the series finale pushed back to 6 p.m. due to the oppressive heat wave, the Aigles and Boulders went back and forth exchanging the lead. Both teams had no problem hitting the long ball on this night. Rockland third baseman Cody Regis tied his home run mark of 14 from last season knocking out two missiles. The Boulders also welcomed Jared McDonald back to the lineup for the first time since June 16th where McDonald sustained a severe laceration to his hand. McDonald went 2-for-3 with one run scored and driving in one also.

Registering four RBI’s including his 7th home run of the season in Friday night’s 15-7 victory, Mike Montville smashed a two-run shot into the right-center bleachers tying the game up at 6-6 in the seventh. However, former Boulder Alex Herceg had payback on his mind in this game belting a solo shot off Kyle Hansen in the ninth, Herceg’s second home run of the game.

With one out in the bottom half of the frame, Mikael Mogues tied the game with a solo shot to right field. Stepping up to the plate, Montville capped off the comeback victory clubbing a solo homer that just dropped fair inside the foul pole for the walk-off win.

“The team had a really good weekend. When we were down, no one panicked and we came back,” said Montville. “You know there are going to be games when you don’t have it, but other guys picked it up. It comes down to trusting the guys in front and behind you. When you have that dynamic things are going to happen.”

Jamie Keefe on the series victory: “A team win. Everybody contributed in some shape or form tonight. Being up and down, back and forth. You can’t sleep on us when we’re down one. Our backs were against the wall and we fought back. We knew the game was not over and too many good things can happen in this ballpark.”

“Montville has been battling and battling. He made some huge strides in game one and pre-game and we worked on a few different things.”

“Not much more to say about Cody Regis. He could hit 45 home runs in this league. Getting Jared McDonald out there and in a comfortable situation.”

Rockland continues the homestand welcoming in Ottawa for a three-game series. The series will mark the first time both teams have met this season. Despite an 18-22 record, the Champions are 7-3 in their last ten games.

“They are playing their best baseball of the year, and it’s going to be a dogfight,” said Keefe. “I like where our starting pitching is at.”

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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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