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After finishing up 5-2 on a seven-game home stand at Palisades Credit Union Park, the Rockland Boulders traveled up to Canada taking on the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in a three-game set at Stade Stereo.


In game one of the series, Rockland got off to a fast start, scoring four times off Aigles starter Jeremy Kehrt. One of the highlights of the inning came with the Boulders scoring their first run without a hit as Mike Fransoso took off for second base while Mike Montville stole home. An RBI single from Alex Herceg and an RBI double from Jared McDonald would make the score 3-0. The inning didn’t end there, as Dylan Tice capped it off lacing a RBI double down the right-field line.


After a single from Ryan Brockett and a double from Julio Martinez, Trois-Rivieres quickly trimmed the deficit to 4-3 on a three-homer by Daniel Mateo in the third.


Tice drove in his second of the contest with a single in the fourth. However, the Aigles responded in the bottom half of the frame tying the game up on RBI singles by Trevor Gretzky and Brockett.


In the sixth, Rockland loaded up the bases and manufactured another run, as Cody Regis drew a free pass bringing in Herceg. Joe Maloney added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly. Despite yielding five runs on seven hits in five innings on the mound, Chris Carmain earned his third win of the season.


The bullpen trio of Thomas Lawrence, Alex Farina and Jon Velasquez shut the door allowing no runs on three hits in four innings of work. Velasquez recorded his third save of the year and second in two games.


“Chris threw the ball really well and just had one rough pitch with Mateo taking him deep” said Boulders manager Jamie Keefe. “Chris is really stretching it out [with] up to 80 pitches today, [which is] big for him.” 



A rainout on Saturday night forced both teams’ to play a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.


In game one of the twin bill,  Joe Maloney again ignited the Boulders offense. Maloney tied the game in the second inning, crushing his 16th home run of the season, a solo shot over the right field wall in the second. Regis added to the Boulders’ score with a sacrifice fly in the third, giving them a 2-1 lead.


Maloney delivered a highlight reel moment in the sixth launching a titanic drive off the center wall, which evaded centerfielder Connor Crane, Maloney circled the bases uncontested for an inside-the-park home run and Can-Am League leading 17th of the year. Maloney has driven 18 runs in 10 straight games with 6 home runs, 9 runs and 12 hits.


“I have been feeling relaxed at the plate and putting good swings on the ball when I’ve got my pitch” said Maloney. “The RBI’s are more of a testament to the guys in front of me who get on base all the time…that makes my job easier.”


“More of Joe’s home runs had been to right field and right-center is his power alley,” said Keefe. “Today he hits it three-quarters up the light pole and second one  an inside the park homer and [it’s] just as exciting as you can get.” 


The Aigles made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh with David Glaude bashing a lead off home run off Velasquez. Undeterred, Velasquez recovered and recorded the last three outs for his fourth save of the season. Topa picked up his league leading seventh win.


Down 1-0 in game two of the doubleheader, Montville changed the score in a flash, smoking his 6th long ball of the season, a two-run shot in the second, to make it 2-1 in favor of the Boulders. The Aigles responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame scoring twice off starter Bo Budkevics to recapture the lead 3-2.


The back and forth affair continued as Tice socked his second homer of the season, tying the game up at 3-3 in the top of the third. Trois-Rivieres wasted no time answering back, catching a break in the bottom of the third on a bloop RBI pop-up single off the bat of Gretzky. In the fourth, the Aigles tagged Budkevics for two additional runs on a two-out, two-run single by Alexander Ayala.


In the sixth, Rockland twice had runners on first and second but Trois-Rivieres starter induced Montville into a double play. Taking over the pitching duties, reliever Miguel Lahera got Mikael Mogues to ground out to second, ending any hope for a comeback.


Maloney went 3 for 3 in the second game of the doubleheader, finishing up the day 5 for 7 with 2 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.


“We went up there and won another series and that is the most important thing,” said Keefe. “[We] obviously would have loved to get game two but didn’t and at the end of the day, [we] take two of out of three.” said Keefe. 


This upcoming week is a grueling one for the Boulders playing, as they play seven games in seven days. Starting on Monday, Rockland(32-11) faces off against the New Jersey Jackals(27-16) in a three-game series at Palisades Credit Union Park. After that, they have a four-game set with the Sussex County Miners where three of the four games will be played at Skylands Park. Currently, the Boulders lead the Jackals and Quebec Capitales by five games in the league standings.


“Every series from here on out is big and [is a] chance to separate ourselves from New Jersey,” said Keefe. “Pitching and defense is going to win this series and whoever does that better is going to come out on top.”

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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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