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Conrad Gregor nine RBI spark Boulders to record-breaking 21-1 rout of Quebec in Game 2

Rockland Boulders 1B/3B Conrad Gregor said after Game 1’s loss to Quebec in the 2018 Can-Am League Playoffs at Palisades Credit Union Park, the team had to come out early, score and get ourselves up big.

“It started in BP (batting practice) today and everyone hit the ball hard, had a plan and transitioned into the game,” said Gregor.

When Gregor talked about getting up big early in Game 2, he could not anticipate a 12 run first inning outburst in a driving rainstorm and sparse crowd off Capitales starter Brett Lee who did not even make it out of the inning. Rockland sent 15 hitters to the plate, walked five times and Gregor played the role of hero tallying six of his nine RBI on the night including a monstrous grand slam. Marcus Nidiffer (4 for 6, two RBI, two runs scored) made it back-to-back home runs slugging a solo shot into the left field bleachers.

“I have never been a part of that and surreal,” said Gregor. “Battling the elements and not letting their pitcher off the hook and one through nine were having quality at bats. Definitely taking what pitcher gives you, we really know how patient our lineup is and people don’t have to do too much. Knowing if you don’t get your pitches, you can pass the baton on and on and makeup of our lineup all year long and being able to put on that display in front of our home fans and crucial must win game means a lot to us.”

“The biggest difference between today’s game and yesterday’s game was all three parts of the game, defense, pitching, and hitting and team effort today. We had smart base running, don’t have top team speed like Sussex but the little points added up and able to take extra bases and been that way past 20 games.”

Receiving the starting assignment, Brian Ernst tossed five innings allowing just one run on five hits while walking two and striking out one. Lee Sosa took over the pitching duties and was superb on the mound hurling four shutout innings, scattering six hits, walking one and fanning two.

The Boulders were not finished scoring adding four more runs in the second as Conor Bierfeldt (2 for 4, three RBI, two runs scored) led off bashing his second home run of the series into left field bleachers. Gregor drove in his seventh run of the game cubing a single past first baseman Zach Wilson.

Gregor ended his magical night on a high note slugging his second long ball of the night into the Short Porch in right field in the eighth inning making the score 21-1. Falling just one RBI shy of the Can-Am League record set Worcester Chris Colabello on May 29, 2007 and one hit from the cycle. Rockland broke the league record for most runs scored in a playoff game previously held by the franchise after a 16-15 win over Quebec on September 10, 2016.

Making the night even more special for Gregor that is parents’ were in attendance for Game 2.

“Anytime they watch is special,” Gregor said. “Joking with my Dad about my swing and hitters meeting before I went to the plate and yard. He told him good job on the hitters meeting today.”

Manager Jamie Keefe on the Game 2 win, “You can’t ask for a better one, the biggest thing is Ernst throwing up a zero after almost a 30 minute inning. We get four more and huge for us. We saw the ball well all night, hit it hard and everyone up and down the order had great at bats. The unsung hero of the night is Reggie Wilson( 2 for 4, 3 runs scored 1 RBI) in centerfield tonight. Scoring three times with him in the nine hole, biggest at bat in the first inning not chasing anything, laid off balls down and drew a walk.”

“Conor (Bierfeldt) is going to be an X-factor in this series and seeing it really well right now. Rylan Sandoval (2 for 5, three runs scored, one RBI) in the number two hole and driving the ball into the gap and did that tonight. You can’t look past at what (Mike) Montville (3 for 5, three RBI, three runs scored) has done at the top of the lineup, a different player after almost breaking the strikeout record and regular season is over and now behind him with a fresh start and seeing the ball well.”

On Conrad Gregor, “Fun to watch, I can’t really explain it and the roof came off when he hit that ball off Blevins.”

Now the series switches to Stade Canac in Quebec with Game 3 on Friday. During the regular season the Boulders struggled up there posting a 3-8 record.

“A best of three series, we have who we wanted going and this game since he first got here,” said Keefe. “Last time Nick (Sarianides) got the ball we got off the bus in Trois-Rivieres and went in and beat Matt Rusch. Gave up one run in the first and that was it. Dominant, has the stuff to do it and throws strikes.”

“Just about executing and enjoying the moment, not every team makes the playoffs,” Gregor said. “It’s all about cherishing every game, each environment and as the season is winding down. I like our team, chances and how we’re playing. Go up there with the right mindset and starts with our preparation before the game. A lot of big game players that have played in crowds and big stadiums.”

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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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