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2018 Season Ends for Boulders in Game 4 Loss to Quebec

Almost 48 hours removed from a Game 4 loss to Quebec in the first round of the Can-Am League Playoffs that ended the Rockland Boulders 2018 season, manager Jamie Keefe said this one was a tough one to swallow. After scoring a record-breaking 21 runs in Game 2 at Palisades Credit Union Park on Thursday and tying the series up at 1-1, Rockland only managed to score a total of five runs in two games at Stade Canac.

It seemed as though the Boulders caught a break in Game 4 with Capitales starter Karl Gelinas departing the game with an injury before first pitch. Loading up the bases against Wendell Floranus in the first inning with two outs, Cody Regis grounded out to second. Despite falling behind 1-0 on Zach Wilson solo homer, Mike Montville crushed a two-run shot in the second inning. Kalian Sams continued to feast on Rockland pitching, slugging his third home run of the season in the fourth. The home run party continued in the fifth with Conrad Gregor cranking a two-out solo blast over the right field wall.

Looking to pad the advantage with runners at first and second, Regis bashed a line drive deep to right field but Quebec right fielder David Salguiero made a spectacular catch crashing against the wall. Boulders starter Justin Brantley turned in a solid performance on the mound, tossing five innings but left the contest after the Capitales loaded up the bases with none out.

Nick Kennedy came on to pitch, facing TJ White who hit a ground ball to Regis in turn fired to home plate. However, catcher Marcus Nidiffer dropped the ball as Wilson crossed home, tying up the game. The turning point of the game would occur next with Maxx Tissenbaum hammering a single to center field with the ball bouncing high off the playing surface, Reggie Wilson had difficulty corralling the ball allowing two runs to score. Quebec plated an additional run on a double play. The Boulders were unable to muster any scoring opportunities the rest of the way as Trevor Bayless ended it by striking out Mike Montville.

“Any loss is a tough loss, Game 1 hurt because we gave it away, Game 3 was a great one and they beat us and Game 4 they beat us,” said Keefe. “You make mistakes and they capitalized on them. You have to take your hats off to them, they played a fantastic series and from the sixth inning on kept the pressure on us and difference in the ball game.

“We didn’t capitalize with runners in scoring position and we knew going in every time you play them at home or up there especially the big inning has to be two or less and four or less puts too much pressure on you. Quebec played us really well all year and [was the] biggest thorn in our side and happened to match-up against them in the playoffs and didn’t play poorly but not fantastic.

“For us, they put four runs in that inning, it only ended up being a three-run swing but you have to come back and put some up on the scoreboard. We didn’t put that much pressure going into eighth or ninth. Our guys never gave in and gave it all they had but just came up short. We pitched well enough to win but didn’t hit enough and at the end of the day, outside the 21-1 game, we didn’t hit enough in the series and [that was] the difference. We hit the ball but at somebody and sometimes you just have to look at the mirror and say it’s not meant to be.

“We played hard enough as we could each night for 27 outs and just wasn’t enough. We have to go home, think about and not much we can do. Some guys are taking the blame that they didn’t perform in the series well or pitch well but been a team all year. We had a hell a lot of guys that came in and contributed and got us where we needed to be and into the first round of the playoffs and see what could happen. Hopefully a lot of guys want to come back and join us next year in Rockland and give it another shot.

“You have a special bond with these guys, we went to war 102 times plus the playoffs and a lot of times under-manned. Guys at times over-performed to take us to the next level and we’re lucky to have guys that came here and understood that they had to leave it all out there every single night to win ball games and we’re able to do that. Never thought we were going to hit 146 home runs in 100 games and we did and part of our mojo and who we were and just set up well in this ball park.

“From opening night on, losing (Justin)Topa for two and half weeks just kind of showed what year it was going to be. Clinched a playoff spot going into the last series of the year and lucky to get into the playoffs. Damn lucky to be here, feel badly for the organization and fans not being able to bring something home. We’re going to pick up and be ready for next year, the goal is go out there and set the bar. We have been to the playoffs five straight years and continue to move in that direction and do what we can on a daily basis.

“We want people to know who we are, what we’re about and it’s winning ball games and getting guys signed. If we do those two things, [we’re] going to have success for a long time. At the end of the day, it’s my job to do for the ownership, players and fans.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
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