Boulders Clinch First Ever .500 Season With 6-5 Extra Innings Win
Despite falling behind 4-0 in the 2nd inning and 5-4 in the top of the 10th inning, the Rockland Boulders rallied time after time for a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in 11 innings at Provident Bank Park. With the victory, the Boulders swept the series, clinched their first .500 season in team history and extended their winning streak to a season high six games.
Giuseppe Papaccio’s sac fly to center field in the 11th allowed Jerod Edmondson to score the winning run from third. Edmondson was at 2nd base to start the inning under International Baseball Federation Rules where the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. Marcus Nidiffer’s sac bunt moved Edmondson over to third base. Papaccio commented on the victory, “We got down early but kept on battling and battling back.” On the game winning sac fly, “A situation with a guy on third and just trying to put the ball in play.”
In the top of the 10th, Redhawks first baseman C.J. Retherford clubbed his second homer of the game into the left center field grandstand giving Fargo-Moorhead the 5-4 lead. Manager Jamie Keefe came out to argue the call but after the umpires conferred the ruling stood. However, Rockland answered in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Arrojo led off the inning with a single back up the middle followed by a sac bunt by Matt Nandin that advanced Arrojo to second base. Antone DeJesus singled sharply up the middle into center field bringing in Arrojo to tie the game up at 5-5.
Keefe spoke of the Boulders play, “We are in one of those spots they are playing for each other and not lying down.” “We are able to play small ball and late runs make us a good team.” “ Fun to watch and way baseball should be played.”
Fargo-Moorhead jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first as C.J. Retherford blasted a home run deep into the left field seats off Boulders starting pitcher Stephen Harrold. In the 2nd inning, the RedHawks stretched out the lead to 4-0. Two singles and walk led to the bases being loaded, Zach Penprase line drive single to center field drove in two runs. The Boulders defense came up big in the top of the 5th inning, Sawyer Carroll ripped a one hop-shot off the right field wall that right fielder Will Walsh scooped up and fired the ball back to Arrojo whose precision strike to Nidiffer at home plate had Carroll out by a mile. Harrold was able to settle down after giving up the early runs pitching going 7 innings.
Held to one hit through five innings, Rockland broke through in the sixth inning off Redhawks starting pitcher Brian Ernst who struck out 9 hitters. Sean O’Hare led off the inning slicing a single down the left field line. Arrojo followed with a perfect squeeze bunt down the third base line. Nandin sac bunt moved O’Hare and Arrojo over to second and third. Antone DeJesus blooped a single to left center field driving in both runners as the Boulders cut the lead to 4-2.
In the 8th inning, Nandin doubled down the right field line into the Boulders bullpen area. DeJesus was hit by a pitch. Jerod Edmondson roped a 2 run single into right field corner tying the game up at 4-4. Nandin scored as well as DeJesus all the way from first base evading the tag by Redhawks catcher Travis Higgs by slapping his hand on home plate.
On the tying the game up in the eighth inning, Edmondson said” Antone is an incredible players and best centerfielder I have been around.”A smart base runner that I have seen score so many times from first base.” “A sign of a good team is battling back, not air-mailing it and executing in big spots.” “
Shawn Gilblair who came into pitch the 11th earned the victory(1-2) while Nate Garcia(0-1) was tagged for the loss. The Boulders(48-35) lead the second place New Jersey Jackals(47-37) by two full games in the Can-Am League. Rockland starts an 8 game, 9 day road trip on Thursday with a doubleheader at the Quebec-Capitales.
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