Boulders finish up 6 game home stand with .500 record
After getting outscored by a wide margin of 18-4 and dropping the first two games of the series against the Quebec Capitales at Palisades Credit Union Park, the Rockland Boulders were desperately searching to end the 6 game home stand on a positive note and with a .500 record before heading up to Ottawa for a 4-game series versus the Champions starting on Thursday night at RCGT Park.
Manager Jamie Keefe acknowledged the team had not played well in the last couple of days. “We have had a tough stretch the last 15 to 20 games. This season has been a very emotional one and trying to get this thing right now. Guys taking care of themselves and getting banged up. It is what it is and have to do what we have to do”
“We’re going to have to battle it out, grind at bats, play small ball to that extra run across, guys are going to have to bare down and at this point in the season grin and bear it. It might be going out and getting a run in the second inning. Pitching, defense, running the bases, taking an extra base, doing small things to get on the other side right now”
Handed the staring assignment, Brian Ernst(3-1) came up with another clutch performance at home, tossing 5 2/3 innings while yielding three runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out six. Rockland’s offense provided early run support for Ernst tallying three runs in the first two innings. After Quebec trimmed the deficit to 5-4 in the 8th, the Boulders broke the game wide open scoring three runs in the bottom half of the frame.
Cody Regis and Kevin Krause( 3 for 4, two runs scored) led the way driving in three runs apiece. Rockland increased its home run team total, belting three more out as Regis hit his team leading 19thof the season, Krause knocking his 8thlong ball and Conrad Gregor going deep for 9thof the season. Nick Kennedy and Tommy Lawrence came on in relief to preserve the lead and Ernst’s third win.
“Ernst set the tone early and certainly fun to watch, Keefe said. He works quickly, gets a lot of ground balls and threw 111 pitches today. Cody tagging on was a big one and you can’t say enough about Kevin Krause. The biggest thing about Kevin is the job he has done behind the plate, controlling the running game, calling great games and so much better behind the plate.
“During this stretch he is beat down and exhausted but ready to go and raised his average by 20 points in the last six or seven games. A force to be reckoned with, just fun to watch, he knows how to hit and I haven’t seen a guy hit this well with two strikes in a long time and certainly knows how to do it”
Now Rockland(40-36) turns its attention to a quick four game road trip at Ottawa(34-43) before returning back to Palisades Credit Union Park for seven games. Back in July the Champions took two out of three.
“We have to go up there and battle again, they have had our number taking two out of three from us, said Keefe. We’re looking for three out of four at a place(RCGT Park) we haven’t played at this season. A war next three, four, five days and next 11 games are against teams’ behind us.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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