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Boulders offense erupts in sweep of Trois-Rivieres Aigles

from ballpark.biz

from ballpark.biz

Three consecutive one-run losses and first-place lead in the Can-Am, League trimmed to a half-game over the New Jersey Jackals, the pressure was clearly on the Rockland Boulders but the offense wasted little time putting an end to that streak exploding for 30 runs on 33 hits to complete a 3-game sweep of the Trois-Rivieres Aigles at Provident Bank Park. Coupled with a loss by the Jackals on Sunday the Boulders increased their first place lead to a game and half.

Tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the 7th in the series opener, Rockland erupted for 7 runs. Jared McDonald’s high chopper over Aigles first baseman Jose Cuevas into right field was misplayed by right fielder Will Walsh allowing Giuseppe Papaccio race around from first for the go-ahead run. Stephen Cardullo ripped a 2-run double increasing the lead to 5-2. The decisive blow came on a 3-run massive home run into the right center bleachers off the bat of Marcus Nidiffer who leads the Can-Am League with 9 round trippers.

“It’s good to be back home because we have been on a slide especially with tough games in New Jersey and get back on track” said Marcus Nidiffer. “We went to our bullpen which has been super strong this year,” added Nidiffer. “A great start for Trevor Reckling and pretty impressive the amount of the innings considering he had not started in a year and half”

Scoreless through the first three frames, Jose Cuevas boomed a solo shot on to the left field concourse giving the Aigles a 1-0 lead. The Boulders quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning with Nidiffer clubbing a double into the right center gap bringing in Cardullo to tie the game up at 1-1. Back came Trois-Rivieres in the 5th as Eric Grabe slugged a shot into the same area as Cuevas’s missile putting the Aigles ahead. Rockland answered once again in the bottom half of the 5th as Junior Arrojo laid a perfect squeeze bunt down the third base line allowing Steve Nyisztor to score easily form third.

“We were able to score runs late in the game and were aggressive on the base paths” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “Coming home and being back in our confines plus to have 7-run inning is big which we had not happen in awhile” added Keefe. “The bullpen was strong throwing strikes plus great to see Trevor give us quality innings pitched and had great movement on his pitches which kept hitters off balance”

Despite recording a no-decision in his Rockland Boulders debut, Trevor Reckling tossed 5 innings surrendering two runs on two hits. Daniel Carela earned the win in relief.

It was the Joe Maloney show in game 2 of the series going 3 for 4 with 6 runs driven in. Maloney capped the night off swatting a grand slam as the Boulders pounded Trois-Rivieres 9-1. With the 6 RBI’s Maloney increased his season total to 40 that is good for first-place in the Can-Am League. Alex Gouin(3-0) made an immediate impact on his return from the disabled list hurling 7 innings of shutout ball while striking out 3 and allowing 6 hits.

In the rubber match, the Boulders jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. Marcus Nidiffer bashed a 2-run double off the right field wall in the first inning. Ryan Fisher smashed a 3-run blast over the Short Porch wall in right field extending the margin to 5-0. Jared McDonald followed hammering an RBI single to right field.

“It was one of those long days where we had to maintain our focus” said Ryan Fisher. “We always found a way to get a big that is a sign of a good team” added Fisher. “One through nine and plus the guys on the bench there are no easy outs and we are capable of putting up 10 or 11 runs”

Rockland starting pitcher Richard Salazar worked out of an early first inning jam with runners on 1st and 2nd with two out striking out Kyle LaFrenz. Salazar proceeded to strike out the side in the 2nd inning and retired 8 Aigles hitters in a row. Trois-Rivieres managed to cut the lead down to 6-3 in the 5th inning on a bases loaded walk issued to Craig Hertler. However, Salazar limited the damaged getting Jose Cuevas to fly out to left field ending the inning.

“Rich was in complete control of the game and battled through,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “We had a response every time they cut the lead down and we held on,” added Keefe. “Alex is a competitor who has a very high ceiling and loves to feast on fastballs”

The Aigles chipped away at the Boulders lead further in the 7th on a 2-run blast by Daniel Mateo off Fray Martinez. Shawn Gilblair came on to pitch and struck two out of three batters to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Charlie Law bounced a ground ball that glanced off Aigles shortstop into left field scoring Joe Maloney from 2nd giving Rockland a 7-5 lead. The see-saw affair continued as Trois-Rivieres made it a one-run game in the 8th on a Javier Herrera RBI single to center field.

In the bottom half of the frame, the Boulders went back up by two runs as Ryan Fisher drove in his fourth run of the game on a 2-out RBI single. Tempers flared briefly when Charlie Law was hit by a pitch loading up the bases. Both benches emptied out on to the field but order was restored. Alex DeBellis put the game out of reach socking a grand slam just over the outstretched glove of Aigles right fielder Will Walsh into the Short Porch area making it 12-6.

Richard Salazar(8-1) notched his Can-Am league leading 8th win of the season logging six innings yielding 3 runs on 7 hits while striking out 7 which increased his season total to 55 K’s which places him 2nd in the league.

“I got the key strikeouts plus trying to give the team a chance to win when we scored first,” said Richard Salazar. “We hit the ball when needed to and get some more runs,” added Salazar. “We are working as a team never getting down and doing our part”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

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