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Boulders End Three Game Skid With Sweep of Garden State

Boulders take three from Garden State.

Riding a three-game losing skid heading into the 4th of July weekend, the Rockland Boulders snapped the slide sweeping the Garden State Grays at Provident Bank Park. Rockland is now sporting a 25-14 record,  the best record in team history at the July 4 point.

In the series opener, Garden State lit up the scoreboard jumping out to an early 4-0 1st inning lead. However, the Boulders responded in the bottom half of the inning plating two runs. Jared McDonald ripped a RBI ground rule double down the right field line in the 2nd inning cutting the Grays lead down to 4-3.

Rockland kept on charging forward in the 3rd even when Joe Maloney was ejected from the game after arguing a called 3rd strike from the dugout. Marcus Nidiffer clubbed a RBI double off the right center field wall scoring Ryan Fisher to tie the game up at 4-4. Charlie Law followed bouncing a single through the hole into center scoring Nidiffer for the go-ahead run. Stephen Cardullo added some insurance in the 6th with a 2-run bases loaded broken bat single. Law salted the margin in the 7th bashing his 6th round tripper of the season, a 2-run homer into left center field stands.

Boulders starting pitcher Stephen Harrold earned his 4th win of the season going 7 innings, yielding four runs on six hits while striking out five and walking three.

On July 4th, Ryan Fisher gave Rockland a 1-0 lead in the 2nd smacking his 3rd home run of the season. Boulders starting pitcher Bo Budkevics cruised early on retiring 7 in a row while striking out four.

Budkevics ran into trouble in the 5th as Garden State took the lead 2-1 on a RBI double by first baseman Joel Rosencrance. Centerfielder Darian Sanford reached on an RBI infielder’s choice making it 3-1. An error by Charlie Law allowed the inning to continue. Left fielder Carl Thomore socked a 2-run double to right increasing the Grays lead to 5-1.

The Boulders answered back in the bottom half of the inning scoring 4 times. Jared McDonald moved into the lead for most RBI’s in the Can-Am league with 30 stroking a 2-run single reducing the lead to 5-3. Marcus Nidiffer hammered a 2-run single off new Garden State pitcher Angel Gonzalez tying the game up.

Neither team could get runners in scoring position the next 4 innings so the game headed to extra innings. In the 10th after a single by Shawn Payne, Joe Maloney made a spectacular defensive play racing toward the right field line to snag a pop up off the bat of Grays second baseman Victor LeBron. With runners on the corner and two outs, Luis Sanz worked out of the jam striking out Kale Sumner. Garden State threatened again the following inning as the Can-Am League speed-up rule took effect with a runner beginning on second base.

With Sumner at second, Sanz issued a walk to Luis Gonzalez. Erik Kozel popped up to Junior Arrojo at short but for some unexplainable reason pinch runner Omar Artsen wandered off 1st and was doubled up. Again with runners on the corners, Sanz reared back and delivered a key strikeout.

In the bottom of the 11th, Stefen Henderson pinch-ran for Marcus Nidiffer at second base and moved over to third on a sac bunt by Law. That set the stage for Steve Nyisztor who bounced a high chopper to Rosencrance at first who fired the ball to home but Henderson beat the throw safely sliding underneath the tag of Grays catcher Erik Kozel.

The relief combination of newcomer Daniel Carela, Chad Robinson, Fray Martinez, Shawn Gilblair and Sanz dominated down the stretch allowing no runs on only one hit. Sanz picked up the win in relief lowering his E.R.A. to 0.61 on the season.

“Another hard fought win which wasn’t easy and we had to dig deep,” said Manager Jamie Keefe.

Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
Sunil Sunder Raj
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