Boulders escape with 4-3 win over Fargo-Moosehead
Despite losing two out of their three starting outfielders in the 4th inning and a late two run rally by the Fargo-Moosehead Redhawks in the 9th inning, the Rockland Boulders extended their season high winning streak to 5 games with a 4-3 victory.
Rockland received another impressive performance from their starters as Richard Salazar(9-5) pitched 7 strong innings while surrendering only one run on five hits while striking out seven for his ninth win of the season which tied a Boulder’s single season wins record held by Bobby Blevins in 2013.
“It was a great team victory today and had great defense as always” said Salazar. “I was able to change up speed on the pitches.” “Another big win for the team as the playoffs are near.” “You get the run support and just focus on pitching.” “The defense and offense picked me up.”
Both teams’ went hitless and scoreless for the first three innings. In the bottom of the 4th, a bizarre sequence of events occurred. Antone De Jesus led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Next stepped up Ryan Stovall who was called out on a third strike. Before walking back to the dugout, Stovall and home plate umpire Tim McCaffrey exchanged words. Once in the dugout, Stovall charged out sprinting towards McCaffrey and started disputing the strike call which led to him being ejected from the game. Jerod Edmondson line drive single into center field brought De Jesus in to make the score 1-0.
After fouling off a pitch, leftfielder Joe Maloney went down in a heap of pain and clutching his shoulder. Maloney was forced to leave the game. Will Walsh replaced Maloney and promptly single into right field. Stephen Cardullo looped a single into center field with Edmondson ducking underneath the tag at home plate giving the Boulders a 2-0 advantage. On a groundball hit by Marcus Nidiffer to 3B appeared to start an inning ending double play but the throw to first base air-mailed over the first baseman as Walsh motored around third base sliding in safely increasing Rockland’s lead to 3-0.
Up until the 6th inning, Salazar dominated retiring 12 Redhawks hitters in a row. Zach Penprase singled with one out in the inning. Nic Jackson crushed a monstrous shot off the Green Monster wall for a stand up triple that ricocheted off DeJesus allowing Penprase to score all the way from first cutting Rockland’s lead to 3-1. The Boulders were able to add some insurance in the bottom half of the inning. Sean O’Hare who came in as a replacement in the outfield tripled off the right field wall to lead off the inning. Edmondson flicked a single in between the first and second baseman plating O’Hare.
In the 9th inning, Keefe called upon Chad Robinson for the save opportunity. Immediately Robinson dug himself walking the first two batters. On an attempted pick-off at first base the ball hit Brandon Tripp enabling Tripp to move over to third base. Frank Salerno smacked a double, his first professional hit into the left center field gap bringing in Tripp and Travis Higgs to reduce the margin to 4-3. The Boulders caught a lucky bounce on wild pitch uncorked by Robinson with Anthony Kaskadden at bat as Salerno attempted to steal on third but the ball hit off the backstop right to Nidiffer who rifled a low throw to Giuseppe Papaccio who applied the tag for the big out. Robinson got Penprase to fly out to the right field to end the game.
Commenting on Richard Salazar’s performance, Keefe said “A great starting performance and in control for the whole game.” “We got a few runs so he could go into cruise control.” “Stayed ahead of hitters, just hitting one tough spot.” “One run in seven innings allowed, we will take that any day.” Mentioning Ryan Stovall’s ejection from the game, Keefe said “Ryan just lost his cool and snapped.” Discussing the injury left fielder Joe Maloney sustained in the 4th inning, Keefe added “ Five minutes later you see another RBI guy go down.” “Maloney is day to day and we will see here he is at tomorrow.” Keefe’s observation about Chad Robinson’s pitching in the 9th inning, “Chad hit a bump in the road, we will give him the day off tomorrow and let him regroup.”
The Boulders and Redhawks conclude their three game series on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Provident Bank Park. Stephen Harrold(7-7, 2.29 ERA) faces off against Brian Ernst(8-5, 5.00 ERA). Rockland’s record stands at 47-35 and hold a one game lead over the New Jersey Jackals in the Can-Am League.
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