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Boulders take 4 of 5 at Trois-Rivières

Having won three of their last five games, the Rockland Boulders were looking to carry that momentum in Canada where they faced off against the Trois-Rivières Aigles in a five game series. The teams’ played a doubleheader to kickoff the series. In game, David Fischer delivered a gem tossing a complete game four hitter while striking out four and walking two to earn his sixth win of the season. Rockland’s offense continued to sizzle led by Jared Schlehuber and Marcus Nidiffer driving in three runs apiece. Schlehuber blasted his third home in the last two games, a three-run shot in the sixth making the score 11-0. Pat McKenna socked his second homer in the last two games with a two-run blast in the fourth inning. “Offensively we had a great series with timely hitting and doing small things by getting bunts down and two out hits” Manager Jamie Keefe said.

In game two, Trois-Rivières reversed role and jumped all over Boulders starter Bo Budkevics scoring four runs on seven hits off Budkevics. The Aigles padded their lead tacking on six additional runs the fifth for the 11-0 shutout.

Heavy rain forced both teams’ to play a second doubleheader in 48 hours. In game one, the Boulders jumped to an early advantage on two-run bases single from Jared Schlehuber and Mike Monvtville added an RBI single. Rockland continued to pour it on with several two-out hits. Schlehuber and Devin Harris paced the offensive attack with three runs apiece. After a rough outing last week against Quebec, Mike Adams gutted through five innings working out of numerous jams yielding one run on three hits while striking out four and walking three. Adams only mistake of the night was surrendering a solo home run to Jiwan James in the third inning.“Whether you believe in the baseball gods or you get rained out the other night on Tuesday was hands down the best thing that happened to this organization in two years and we truly had no idea who was going to pitch” said Jamie Keefe. “A big start for Mike because last two outings he was roughed up”

Richard Salazar(7-6) dominated for a second straight outing hurling six innings of two-hit shutout ball fanning eight and walking one. Salazar and Aigles starter Matthew Rusch were locked in a pitcher’s duel until the fifth inning when Boulders Quinnton Mack sent a chopper through the hole bringing home Elvin Soto from third. Mike Fransoso provided some insurance with a two-out two-run single into center field in the 7th. Salazar handed the ball off to Hector Nelo who notched his 12th save.

“Quinnton Mack stepping up and maybe getting the two biggest hits of the season” Jamie Keefe said. “Kids who are new to the scene and doing things we needed to do in a big situation” “Salazar is got a little kick in the last week and half” “Sometimes you have been the guy for a few years and you need to be there for your team when they need you and now in his third year” “He has more velocity of his fastball and when you get ahead it’s tough to hit”

In the rubber match of the series, Rockland repeated the a common theme of getting the lead early scoring three times in the first inning including a two-out two-run single by Elvin Soto. Mike Montville provided some pop belting his 7th home run of the season, a two-run missile to straightaway center in the third inning. Jason Byers battled through five shutout innings escaping repeated jams while striking out three and walking four to earn his second win of the season. Trois-Rivières trimmed the lead to 6-3 off reliever Liarvis Breto in the sixth. The Boulders managed to put the game away in the eighth on two-run doubles from Junior Arrojo and Marcus Nidiffer. Jared Schlehuber continued to swing the hot bat driving in two more runs giving him 11 RBI’s in the last eight games.

“The two-out hit Soto had was the back breaker and those are the small things you have to look at,” said Jamie Keefe. “Byers had been absolutely dominant with his fastball”

Having won seven out of their last ten games including five of six and tallied 46 runs during that stretch, Rockland(45-38) returns to Palisades Credit Union Park for a three-game showdown against the first place New Jersey Jackals. The last time both teams’ met at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey the Jackals swept a four-game set.

“Winning seven of last ten is huge and five out of six is big” Jamie Keefe said. “Keeping the ball rolling and we need to get to that last week if we have a chance” “We just need to take care what’s in front of us and keep it there for the next 16 or 17 days”

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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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