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Boulders Take Two of Three From Jackals

Boulders scored 25 runs in the series.

Heading into a weekend three game series against the New Jersey Jackals, the Rockland Boulders were clinging on to their first-place lead in the Can-Am League but Rockland scored 25 runs taking two out of three games.

In the series opener at Provident Bank Park, New Jersey right fielder Leandro Castro put the Jackals ahead for good 4-2 in the 3rd delivering a 2-run double into the left center gap. Matt Helm pummeled a solo shot onto the top of the awning in the Short Porch area in right field widening the lead to 5-2. Steve Nyisztor clubbed his 2nd home run in the last 2 games cutting the margin down to 5-3.

“Put up a zero on the board in the first and could not stop them from scoring,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “You can’t pitch behind in the count against a good hitting team.”

The Jackals tacked onto their lead in the 5th as Mark Threlkeld launched a solo blast into the left field bleachers and Helms drilled a ground ball off Junior Arrojo’s glove into left field where Stephen Cardullo misplayed the ball allowing Jared Schlehuber from second. Castro belted a 2-run moonshot into the left field bleachers pushing the advantage to 10-3.

Rockland relied on the long ball to get them back in the game in 7th as Joe Maloney and Charlie Law cranked back-to-back home runs. Maloney’s 9th of the season and Law mashing a 420-foot missile to dead center. In the 9th inning, Law laced a 2-run double to right field reducing the margin down to 11-8 but Jackals closer Brandon Sisk struck out Byron Wiley and Steve Nyisztor to end the game. Nataniel Roe(1-3) was charged with the loss surrendering four runs on seven hits while walking four in five innings of work.

The series switched to Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey for games 2 and 3 of the series. In game two, the Boulders were trailing 3-2 entering the 6th inning when New Jersey manager Joe Calfapietra decided to remove starting pitcher John Walter from the game. Walter had been dominant hurling four scoreless innings while whiffing eight but showed signs of tiring walking Marcus Nidiffer with the bases loaded as the lead dwindled down to 3-2. Donnie Joseph came into pitch for the Jackals and in the 7th things began to unravel as Joseph walked Junior Arrojo with the bases loaded bringing in Steve Nyisztor to tie the game up at 3-3.

“A barnburner there as we had plenty of good at bats” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We waited it out and got to their bullpen,” added Keefe. “The guys were patient and got ahead on the counts” “The 8-run inning is what we need which had not happened in awhile”

Stephen Cardullo followed with a hard ground ball to 3rd that Mark Threlkeld knocked down but was unable to make a play on allowing Giuseppe Papaccio to score the go ahead run. Joe Maloney put the game out of reach clubbing a bases clearing double down the left field line extending the lead to 7-3. With the bases loaded again, Byron Wiley knocked in his first run as a Rockland Boulder chopping a grounder to A.J. Kirby Jones at first who stepped on the bag and came home but Joe Maloney slid in safely. Nyisztor finished off the scoring in the inning smacking a 2-run single to left center as the lead grew to 10-3.

“It was a great win which we definitely needed to bounce back from last night’s loss ” said Stephen Cardullo. “Alex pitched a great game and kept us in it” added Cardullo. “We have a great team and lineup”

Alex Gouin(5-1) earned his fifth victory of the season tossing seven innings allowing three runs on ten hits while striking out one and walking two.

“It definitely feels good to get back in the winning column,” said Alex Gouin. “A good feeling to contribute and have the hitters put up the runs the way they did,” added Gouin. “It’s about trusting yourself and making the pitches”

In the series finale, New Jersey jumped to an early 2-0 lead but Rockland rallied scoring four times in the 3rd inning to take a 5-2 lead. The Jackals came back in the bottom half of the frame scoring twice to cut the lead down to 5-4. Both teams’ traded runs in the 7th inning as the Boulders held a 7-6 advantage.

Chad Robinson replaced starter Richard Salazar in the 8th and struck out Leandro Castro with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out. Manager Jamie Keefe called upon closer Luis Sanz who struck out Jared Schlehuber to end the inning. In the 9th inning, Sanz overpowered New Jersey’s hitters striking out 2 of 3 to preserve the victory and register his 11th save of the season. Richard Salazar(10-2) earned his Can-Am league leading 10th win of the season surrendering six runs with three of them earned on ten hits while walking three and striking out six.

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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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