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Rockland Splits Two-Game Series With Sussex County Ahead of Showdown with NJ Jackals

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


Before their much highly anticipated rematch & four game series with the New Jersey Jackals before the All-Star break, the Rockland Boulders faced off against the Sussex County Miners in a mini two-game series. The lead for first place in the Can-Am league standing could not be any closer with Rockland, New Jersey and Quebec Capitales separated by just one game.

The Boulders and Miners traveled up to Cooperstown, New York in the annual Cooperstown Can-Am Classic. Playing at historic Doubleday Field, rookie Mike Adams stole the show tossing a masterful complete game earning his fourth win of the season. Adam’s only mistakes on the day were yielding three solo home runs including one from ex-Boulder players Alex DeBellis.

“Pitching with the lead and trying to pound the zone and let my defense go to work and they did making some nice plays in the field,” said Mike Adams. “I found out two days ago I was going to pitch here and a great following and awesome atmosphere. I was trying to be aggressive with my fastball and getting a lot of ground balls that worked well today.”

Rockland’s offense supported Adams quality outing jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Boulders steadily tacked on runs from that point with three of them coming on two-out hits. Devin Harris continued to stroke the hot bat going 2 for 4 with RBI’s including blasting his fourth home run of the season in the third. Centerfielder Ed Charlton not only contributed in the field making a sensational diving catch on a liner into the right-center gap off the bat of Steve Nyisztor in the second but also slugged his second long ball of the year in the fourth inning.

“He (Mike Adams) attacked the zone early and went hard with those fastballs and kept them off balance all day,” Manager Jamie Keefe said. “Three solo shots on four pitches and how it’s supposed to be done and give it up early in the count. Three two-out hits were huge and we went out there and guys performed today and makes baseball fun. Anytime you can get a two hit knock you can do anything but help the team with guys in scoring position.”

“Last year we didn’t come out on the right end but today we did it the right way and played a good baseball game. Ed is stepping in and doing the job and you can’t ask for anymore than that.”

The series switched back to Palisades Credit Union Park where Elvin Soto( 3 for 5) gave Rockland an early lead golfing a two-run shot into left field bleachers in the second inning. The lead would be short-lived as the Miners cut the lead to 2-1 in the third on a sac fly from Nick Giarraputo. Former Boulder Alex DeBellis picked up where he left off the day before slugging a solo shot deep over the Short Porch in right field tying the game up.

Making his third start of the season, Luis Sanz lasted five innings surrendering four runs on four hits, striking out four but was undone by five walks. In the fifth, Nick Giarraputo put Sussex County up for good driving in his second run of the contest, socking a drive into the left center gap that kicked off a sliding Ed Charlton allowing Brenden Webb to motor around from first.

The Miners had runners on corner with two outs and Dustin Lawley provided some insurance blooping RBI single into right field. In the sixth inning, the Boulders had a golden scoring opportunity loading up the bases with none out. Sussex County went to its bullpen bringing in reliever Michael Suk who proceeded to rear back and strike out the side.

Sussex County put the game away in the seventh as Lawley drove in his second run of the game and Dominique Taylor added a two-run double.

“The walks killed us today but Luis out for a third time today and we’re going to need him down the stretch,” said Keefe. “He’s not throwing the ball he is capable of doing so but spring training is over for him now. The sixth inning changed the game and Suk did his job and we didn’t” “Elvin needed that and has been hot the past couple of days.”

Now the Boulders travel to Yogi Berra Stadium with New Jersey holding a half-game lead over Rockland. Two weeks ago these two teams engaged in two wild brawls at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, New York.

“This is August and we need to make our push,” Keefe said. “A big and fun series ahead of us and see what happens. We have to keep pecking away at it and going to make some more moves and see where were 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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