Boulders Snap 6 Game Losing Slide
After absorbing another deflating loss against the Quebec Capitales at Stade Canac on Wednesday night that made it six straight losses for the Rockland Boulders, manager Jamie Keefe decided to roll the dice by handing off the ball to reliever Nick Kennedy for the start in the series finale.
In three innings on the mound, Kennedy kept Rockland in the contest, yielding just one run on three hits. Right off the bat, the Boulders had a golden scoring opportunity in the first inning with the bases loaded, but J.C. Rodriguez was cut down at the plate on fly ball hit to right field by Conrad Gregor.
In the third inning Gregor came through in the clutch with a two-out RBI single. Quebec wasted no time, answering back in the bottom half of the frame on a run producing single by Yordan Manduley.
Marc Huberman took over the pitching duties in the fourth and shined on the mound by hurling 3 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out one. Off to a rough start initially at second base, Jared McDonald flashed the leather on this night making two spectacular diving plays on line drives.
Meanwhile, Capitales starter Liarvis Blanco held Rockland in check as well, tossing five innings, surrendering one run on six hits, while whiffing four, and walking three. With Blanco departing the contest, the Boulders capitalized in the seventh. Alex Herceg led off the inning with a double off Trevor Bayless, Rodriguez moved Herceg over to third on a sac bunt, and Kevin Krause reached on a infield single as Herceg came into score easily.
Keefe called upon Matt Kostalos number in the bottom half of the inning. Edgard Lebron ripped a single to start the frame, swiped second, and advanced to third on a sac bunt. The pivotal play of the game came on Jordan Serena’s ground ball to Rodriguez who fired a strike to home plate, as Herceg applied the tag on Lebron. Still not out of the woods, Kostalos escaped the inning unscathed retiring Manduley on a ground out.
Rockland had an opportunity to extend the lead in the ninth with runners on first and second with two outs, but Gregor flied out to left field. Keefe signaled for Garrett Johnson to close it out and attempt to end the Boulders winless streak. He did not disappoint, retiring the side in order for his first save of the season and making a winner of Huberman(2-1).
“Great baseball game, Kennedy set the tone early and bullpen and defense were great,” said Keefe.
Rockland(5-9) returns home to Palisades Credit Union Park for a six-game home stand, beginning first with the New Jersey Jackals(5-8). Currently New Jersey is a half-game ahead of the Boulders.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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