Boulders take 2 of 3 at Sussex County
Mired in a five-game losing streak and having lost seven of eight, the Rockland Boulders were searching to snap that skid at Sussex County. The Boulders lineup busted loose, exploding for 16 runs and 33 hits as they took two out of three in the series. Rockland’s record stands at 22-17, four and half games behind the Quebec Capitales in the Can-Am League standings.
Rockland got off to a flying start in game one of the series scoring four runs in the first inning. Miners starter Matt Bywater uncorked a passed ball and wild pitch in the second inning, allowing two more runs to score. Shortly thereafter, heavy thunderstorms and torrential downpours forced the game to be postponed to the next day.
Edgar Valle relieved David Fischer when play resumed and Sussex County tagged Valle for four runs in the fourth trimming the deficit to 7-4. Rockland came right back in the fifth on a perfectly executed hit and run double into the left field corner by Mike Schwartz, scoring Junior Arrojo from first. Mike Montville tacked on an RBI single extending the lead to 9-4. Valle managed to recover and tossed three shutout innings as he registered his second win of the season.
“Being able to get one here and there is how you win ball games and being able to do it tonight which is take the series and looking for” Manager Jamie Keefe said. “Edgar threw the ball well and Daniel(Carela) comes in unscathed and works on his mechanical skills”
Game two of the series was a seven-inning affair that featured a pitcher’s duel between new Rockland starter Mike Adams and Rich Hanson. Former Boulder Steve Nyisztor gave Sussex County a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI single. Carl Thomore extended the margin to 2-0 drilling a single under the glove of Junior Arrojo knocking in Nick Giarraputo. Mike Montville put Rockland on the board with an RBI ground out in the fifth inning.
In the sixth, the Boulders loaded up the bases with one out but Miners relief pitcher Stone Speer escaped the jam whiffing Mike Fransoso and getting Montville on a fly out to center. With one last opportunity in the 7th to tie the game up, Rockland had runners on first and second with one out. Sussex County closer Josh Wood shut the door getting Mike Schwartz to ground into a fielder’s choice and struck out Ed Charlton to end the game. After surrendering the early runs, Adams settled down in his Boulders start, tossing 4 2/3 innings striking out two and walking two.
“We’ll take that start any day a kid(Mike Adams) no one knew anything about it” Jamie Keefe said. “We had opportunities all day and just didn’t take care of it” “We’re close and hopefully can turn the corner and get back on track”
Trailing 1-0 in game three of the series, Pat McKenna led off with a stand triple in the second. Mike Montville tied the game up with an RBI ground out. Sussex County reclaimed the lead in the third on an RBI single from Jay Austin. Rockland answered back in the fourth knotting the game up on a bases loaded single from Ed Charlton. Jared McDonald gave the Boulders the lead with an RBI ground out. Junior Arrojo drilled an RBI single into center scoring Charlton. Austin would drive in his second run of the game in the fifth on a ground out, trimming the Rockland lead to 4-3. Boulders starter Richard Salazar was sharp on the mound stringing back to back strikeouts ending the 6th and 7th. The defense backed Salazar up as Arrojo robbed Austin of a base hit and flipped to McKenna turning a successful 6-4-3 double play. Arrojo(3 for 5) stepped up to the plate in the ninth and provided some pop belting his 5th home run of the season deep over the left field wall. Jared Schlehuber capped the scoring as he recorded an RBI single, extending the lead to 6-3.
Salazar’s night would come to an end in the seventh, leaving it up to the bullpen to finish the job. Set-up man Pat Butler came into to pitch the eighth, and did not allow a single run after giving up two hits. Hector Nelo came in to close in the ninth and would go on to record his seventh save of the season. Salazar picked up his fifth win of the season going seven innings, surrendering three runs on four hits while fanning nine and walking two.
The Boulders return to Palisades Credit Union Park on Friday for a four-game set against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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