Boulders 9th Inning Comeback Dashed in Game 1
Trailing 3-2 in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the Can-Am League Championship series at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey the Rockland Boulders loaded up the bases. Third baseman Giuseppe Papaccio ripped a line drive into the left center field gap where out of nowhere left fielder Joe Dunigan of the New Jersey Jackals made an acrobatic catch robbing Papaccio of an extra base hit and Boulders chances of taking the lead. With one out, Ryan Stovall grounded a ball through the wickets of New Jersey shortstop Steve Nikorak. Jerod Edmondson crushed a double off the right center field wall allowing Stovall to score all the way from first base cutting the Jackals lead down to one run.
“All we’re trying to do is get the tying man on base and we did that and that was one hell of a catch to beat us” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We did not swing the bats early, his (Antonini) off-speed was not working and we did not get to him” added Keefe. “We have to tip our hat to them but its one game.”
Starting Jackals pitcher Michael Antonini(1-0) cruised through the first three innings fanning 7 hitters. In the bottom of the 2nd, Dunigan walked after fouling numerous pitches followed by a looping single over Junior Arrojo. With Tony Caldwell at the plate, Dunigan attempted to steal third but on the ensuing throw by catcher Marcus Nidiffer the ball skipped by Papaccio enabling Dunigan to cross home plate for the first run of the game. Caldwell grounder to 3rd was scooped up by Papaccio who fired to home plate nailing Jose Cuevas. Starting pitcher Richard Salazar(0-1) struck out Jon Talley to escape the jam.
In the 4th inning, Andre DeJesus roped a one out double off the right field wall. Stovall laced a single back up the middle into center field as DeJesus sprinted around to tie the game up at 1-1. Rockland had another scoring chance in the 5th inning with runners on first and second. Papaccio flicked a single to center field moved to 2nd when a balk was called on Antonini followed by an Arrojo walk. However, Matt Nandin lined out to second to end the inning.
Antonini continued to add to his strikeout total for the game with two more in the 6th. In the bottom half of the inning, Salazar issued a leadoff walk to Jeremy Barnes who advanced to second when Salazar uncorked a wild pitch. Caldwell walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. Talley’s single to left scored Barnes for the 2-1 lead. Salazar dug a deeper hole walking Nikorak to load up the bases. A 4th walk of the inning to Felix Sanchez forced in a run making the score 3-1. Fray Martinez relieved Salazar and struck out Alonzo Harris to escape further damage.
Game 2 is on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey before the series returns to Provident Bank Park in Pomona, New York for Games 3-5.
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