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New Jersey Jackals win thriller to take series against Cuban National Team

After losing the first game, the New Jersey Jackals won two straight, including a thriller in the third and final game, to take a three game series against the Cuba National Team

Last week, the New Jersey Jackals won their first international series of the season against the Shikoku Island All-Stars. The Jackals then played their second and final international series of the season against the Cuban National Team. The Jackals ended up winning the three game series in what would end up being a thriller in the third and final game.

Cuba got on the board quickly in the first game on June 28th when Raul Gonzalez reached on a two-out triple, then scored on a wild pitch. Cuba would add on two more runs in the top of the third. Yunieski Larduet got it started by scoring on a couple of errors and Yordanis Samon drove in Cesar Prieto with a sacrifice fly. Cuba would end up scoring three runs in the first three innings.

New Jersey would end up scoring three runs of their own after falling behind. Jason Agresti got it started with a single to score Emilio Guerrero in the second. Alfredo Marte hit a one run single as well to score Santiago Chirino in the fifth. Demetrius Moorer scored in the sixth after stealing second and coming home on an error by Cuban center fielder Yunieski Larduet, tying the game at 3-3.

Ultimately, the ninth inning would be when Cuba pulled away, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth. Yunieski Larduet got it started by drawing a walk with the bases loaded to score one run. Raul Gonzalez followed up by reaching base safely on an error by Jackals shortstop Santiago Chirino. Two runs scored on the play to give Cuba the 6-3 lead.

New Jersey would attempt to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. It started with a solo home run by Emilio Guerrero. Then with two outs, a single and back to back walks would give the Jackals the bases loaded with no outs. Santiago Chirino would then make it three straight walks drawn to score another run to cut Cuba’s lead to 6-5. However, after a hard-fought at bat by Conrad Gregor, he would end up grounding out to end the game as New Jersey fell just short of completing the comeback.

The second game on June 29 began in a similar fashion with Cuba once again taking an early lead. Yosvany Alacorn singled in the first to score two runs, giving the Cuba National team a 2-0 lead heading into the second inning. However, the Jackals offense would explode for four runs in the second inning. Gregg Veneklasen brought in two of them with a two run triple. The Jackals would add on one more run in the third when Conrad Gregor hit a solo home run, his fourth of the year. Yunieski Larduet would get Cuba right back into the game in the fourth with a two run single to make the score 5-4.

From that point on, the Jackals would go on to score six total runs the rest of the game. Conrad Gregor would drive in one of them with a triple in the sixth inning. He would finish the game going a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Cuba would score two runs in the seventh, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Jackals would go on to win the second game by a final of 11-6.

The third and final game of the series on June 30 began with a bit of a scary scene. Yosvany Alacorn would hit a fly ball to right field that Jackals right fielder Demetrius Moorer got hurt trying to track down. Moorer appeared to be in pain for a bit before he was thankfully able to get up and walk back to the Jackals dugout. Dylan Brammer subbed in for Moorer in right field as Cuba took a 3-0 lead on Alacorn’s inside-the-park home run. Jackals manager Brooks Carey does not expect Moorer to be too hurt.

“Yeah I’ve seen it a lot,” Brooks Carey said on the play where his right fielder got hurt. “I don’t think he’s injured really bad. I think he’s going to be okay.

Cuba scored three more runs in the second inning, two from a two run single off the bat of Raul Gonzalez to take a 6-0 lead through two innings. However, the Jackals ended up mounting yet another comeback. It started in the fourth inning when the Jackals scored four runs. Alfredo Marte drove in three of them with a three run home run. Marte would finish the game going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He was recently named the Can-Am League’s Batter of the Week, going 9-for-22 with eight RBI in six games.

“My teammates, they tell me today ‘You player of the week. Congratulations,'” said Alfredo Marte on receiving the news. “I feel really great for that. I work really hard.”

New Jersey would end up tying the game in the sixth and seventh innings. Nelson Ward singled in the sixth to score Alfredo Marte in the sixth whereas Conrad Gregor doubled in the seventh to score Dylan Brammer to tie the score at 6-6. Finally, Dylan Brammer came up big filling in for Demetrius Moorer, hitting a two run single to score two runs to give the Jackals the lead for good. Brammer then came in to pitch the top of the ninth and got the three outs necessary to get the save and give the Jackals the 8-6 win and the series victory.

“We’ve done it a couple of times this year,” said Brooks Carey on his team’s ability to come back down from behind. “We’ve lost the first game then comeback to get the next two. I don’t worry about these guys. They got heart. That’s how you win in this league.”

The New Jersey Jackals improve their season record to 21-18, good enough for third place in the Can-Am League standings. They will begin a four game series against the Quebec Capitales on July 1.

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New York & New Jersey Sports Staff Writer, New Jersey Jackals Beat Writer
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