Boulders wrap up 2018 home schedule with series win over Jackals
The Rockland Boulders wrapped up their 2018 home schedule taking two of three over the Jackals.
Despite taking two out of three from the New Jersey Jackals and finishing with a 35-18 record at Palisades Credit Union Park this season in front of crowds of 6,712 and 7,336, Rockland Boulders Manager Jamie Keefe is not content with those numbers. This season according to Keefe has been the most difficult in his six seasons as manager of the Boulders due to all the injuries and roster moves.
There is still unfinished business for the Boulders, who are tied for third place with Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Can-Am League standings. At 49-45, Rockland could clinch a playoff spot for a fifth straight season of postseason action. To make that scenario happen, Rockland will have to do it on the road starting with a four-game set against the Aigles before ending the regular season with four games at Ottawa.
“We’re at the point where every one counts right now and we have to figure it out,” said Keefe. “It’s a dogfight. If we can win three out of four, we put ourselves in a good situation. We go 2-2, we will see in the last four to play. We have to battle and do whatever we can. Get out there, play our game and go up there and take care of business.”
“The toughest ride we had yet, we have to keep fighting and get to between 50 and 55 wins to make it. We lost a lot of key guys, but we have to leave it out on the field the next eight days. It’s been a fun ride, but we’re not finished yet.”
After the Jackals scored 33 runs in three games just ten days ago, the Boulders starting pitching turned the tables limiting New Jersey to eight runs during the three-game series. Making just his second start since rejoining the team, Bo Budkevics gutted through five innings to earn his first victory. Rockland’s offense went to work early scoring five runs from the second to the fourth inning. Kyle Hansen locked it down in the ninth to earn his 16th save of the season.
Budkevics on the game: “It felt good. All about limiting that big inning and keeping the juices flowing a little bit and don’t feel so deflated and just go out there and get the outs. I’m not a big power guy. I’m trying to make the ball move.”
“You can’t look past at what Bo (Budkevics) did. The best word for him is a competitor and he competes. It doesn’t matter if he has 88 or 78. At the end of the day, he goes out there and gives everything he has and more. If Marcus (Nidiffer) and if I don’t call him, he’s not here. His arm is absolutely killing him, but he knows we need him. It might be eight days before he throws again and do the same g-damn thing.”
“He is unreal. I don’t know more what else to say about him. He brings something we have not had here all year and having him in the dugout after a start is as important, if not more, and that is an edge. A guy who brings a lot of energy and a lot of a-hole. Not the biggest cheerleader but the best teammate you can ask for. He will do a lot for us down the stretch.”
The next night David Palladino shined on the hill hurling six shutout innings while yielding just three hits and striking out four. Newcomer Max Biedrzycki preserved the victory tossing three innings to earn his first save in a Boulders uniform. Rockland’s offense broke out the lumber tallying ten runs while pounding out 15 hits. Reggie Wilson and Kevin Krause led the attack driving in three runs apiece with Wilson socking his second home run.
“David (Palladino) got the ball and just took off. He got into a couple of jams here and there, lost his control once or twice but got a ground ball and fly ball and right back into it,” Keefe said. “Max (Biedrzycki) threw the ball and got a save out of it. Welcome to the 11-man (pitching) roster. He was able to control himself.”
“We got some early runs and big knocks. If we can get this offense clicking, we had some good swings late in the game and kept innings alive. We’re doing the small things by getting bunts down, getting double plays and our defense has the ability to carry us right now.”
Offensively, the player that has been on fire of late is Captain/Pitching Coach Marcus Nidiffer, who is riding a five-game hitting streak. Over the streak, he is 11 for 21 with two home runs and seven RBI’s. Nidiffer is tied with Cody Regis and Mike Montville for the team lead in home runs with 21.
“Marcus (Nidiffer) has turned it on. Great players show up in late August and September and that is what we need now,” said Keefe. “The impressive thing he knew he was catching the next three days and stretches a double into a triple.”
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