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Boulders walk-off winners against Trois-Rivèries

Rockland Boulders manager Jamie Keefe said afterwards the key for the 2018 team is identity and how good they are, “I know how good this lineup is, we’re not there yet and getting there,” said Keefe.

With ample opportunities for big innings in the series opener last night against Trois-Rivèries, the Boulders were futile with runners in scoring position having left nine runners on base early on and 15 overall for the game. Down 6-2 in the sixth inning, Rockland found a new resolve by plating three runs against the Trois-Rivèries relief pitcher Tyler Garkow.

JC Rodriguez kicked off the scoring barrage smoking an RBI double to the left field wall. Conor Bierfeldt made it consecutive doubles in a row bashing a monstrous shot off the base of the right field wall as Rodriguez came into score easily. Marcus Nidiffer made it a run one game cranking a run producing single into left-center.

The Boulders had a chance to tie the game up with runners on corner and out but Mike Montville struck out and Kevin Karuse was robbed of an extra base hit on a spectacular full extension diving catch by Aigles third baseman Taylor Brennan.

Rockland’s bullpen duo of David Palladino and Nick Kennedy dominated in three innings on the mound allowing no runs on two hits and fanning seven. In the seventh, Palladino ended up whiffing four hitters. Facing runners at first and second with one out in eighth, Kennedy escaped the jam inducing a pop out and striking out Alexi Colon.

“You could feel that turn when our bullpen came in and shut the door down and their bullpen came in and started giving it up and that was the difference,” Keefe said.

In the eighth with two outs and Cody Regis on first base, Conrad Gregor kept the inning alive clubbing a single to right field. Hitting under .200 entering Tuesday night’s contest, Mike Montville delivered in the clutch flicking a bloop single into left field as Regis scored to tie the game up at 6-6.

After Kennedy tossed a spotless ninth frame, Rockland continued to work the magic with two outs, Rodriguez belting a single to right field and Bierfeldt executing a perfect hit and run single to left field. That set the stage for Regis, leading the Can-Am League in hitting, home runs and third in RBI’s lacing a walk-off single into right field as the Boulders (8-10) won their fourth in the past five games and 16th hit of the night for Rockland.

“A slower process than it’s ever been here and okay, seven players that have gotten hurt up to date and now starting to get healthy,” said Keefe.

Regis on the victory, “A big win the way we have been playing the last few games since we got home, it’s encouraging. We fought back and were down early and kept chipping and getting a few hits here and there. Grinded our way back cutting the lead down and give ourselves a chance to win.”

“Just trying to keep it rolling at the plate and seeing the ball well and ride that good feeling as long as I can as I know in baseball there are ups and downs and I’m on a high right now. We like the offense and guys we have one through nine and off the bench and starting to click offensively and putting ourselves in a good position.”

Keefe on the play of Regis this season, “He was such a question mark coming into this season, he didn’t know anything about this league and independent ball. The most important thing he hit never the way he hits now, a spread out hitter and more of a gap to gap guy and came in standing up last year and put his time in and had success. He gets hot and comes into this year knowing he can be that man in the middle of the lineup and a big boost of confidence and taken the league by storm.”

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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