New Jersey Sweeps Rockland in Three Game Road & Home Series
With one month left to go in the 2019 Can-Am League season, the New Jersey Jackals bounced back after a rough road trip by sweeping a three game series of the Rockland Boulders.
We’re officially in the final full month of the 2019 Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball’s regular season. All six Can-Am League teams have about a month left to solidify their position in the standings. The New Jersey Jackals came into a three game series against the Rockland Boulders in a bit of a slump. They had lost three out of four games to the Sussex County Miners and got swept by the Trois-Rivières Aigles on the road. Fortunately for the Jackals, they would bounce right back and win all three games of the series, sweeping the Boulders.
“We’ve got to beat the teams behind us and try to separate ourselves from those guys,” said New Jersey Jackals manager Brooks Carey. “We did what we had to do. We beat a team that maybe we’re better than.”
The first game on August 30 was played on the road at the Boulders home ballpark, Palisades Credit Union Park. And boy did the Jackals come out swinging in this one; New Jersey scored five total runs in the first inning alone. Alfredo Marte drove in two with a two run home run, his 12th of the season. Marte would go on to have a monster game in his own right, going 5-for-6 with five RBIs on the night.
New Jersey’s bats would continue to roar throughout the rest of the game. Nelson Ward doubled in the top of the third to score a run. He would go 3-for-5 on the night with an RBI. Santiago Chirino capped it off with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth. He went 3-for-3 on the night with one RBI. The Jackals would go on to roll right past the Boulders by a final score of 14-9, as well as 20 total hits as a team in the game.
For the second game on July 31, the series would return to the Jackals home ballpark, Yogi Berra Stadium. This game would begin the same as the previous one, with New Jersey taking an early lead. Alfredo Marte got it started by hitting a blooper into right field. The ball dropped as Alfredo Marte took second for a double that scored two runs. The at-bat after, David Harris drove Marte in with a single to give the Jackals a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
However, the highlight of the game for the Jackals was not in the batters box, but rather on the pitcher’s mound. New Jersey Jackals ace, Eduard Reyes, was dominant on the mound once again. He pitched eight innings, allowing just one run, and striking out four. It was a much-needed bounce back night on the mound for him, as he had allowed nine runs in 11 innings pitched in his previous two starts. Thanks to three runs in the first, eight strong innings by Reyes, and closer Dylan Brammer getting the job done in the ninth, the Jackals took the second game of the series by the final score of 3-1.
New Jersey would go for the series sweep in the third and final game on August 1. They would start the game off the exact same way they started the other two games of the series. New Jersey once again took the lead in the first inning, this time on one swing of the bat of Alfredo Marte, crushing a ball to deep right center field for a three run home run, giving the Jackals a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Marte went 8-for-13 in the series with two home runs and ten RBIs. He currently leads the Can-Am League in home runs, with 13, and RBIs, with 65.
This time around, Rockland would not let New Jersey run away with the victory so easily. They scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning. John Brontsema got it started with a leadoff double, then scored on a single by Matt Oberste. Oberste then scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Ehrlich. Last, but not least, Grant Heyman singled to add on one more run as the Boulders tied the score 3-3.
The Jackals would make sure that the tie wouldn’t last long. In the bottom of the fifth inning, they tacked on three more runs. It started when Nelson Ward stole third base then scored on an error by Boulders catcher Adam Ehrlich. David Harris followed it up with a two run single to give the Jackals the 6-3 lead. The Jackals would hold that lead thanks to seven strong innings from starter Justin Brantley, as well as two more by reliever Reece Karalus.
“Felt good. Last two weeks have been really rough for me.” said Reece Karalus, as this was his first appearance where he didn’t give up a run since July 19. “The team came back and played really well. I came back and pitched really well. It was enormous for my confidence. I had good stuff today.”
Before the game would conclude, however, tempers flaired between the two teams. Reece Karalus was fired up walking off the mound after striking out Grant Heyman to end the top of the eighth inning. The Boulders took exception to Karalus and both benches emptied. While both clubs exchanged words with each other, no brawls or physical altercations broke out.
— Sunil Sunder Raj (@SunilSunderRaj3) August 2, 2019
“I think it’s just intensity of the moment. Intensity of the situation,” said Karalus. “After the strikeout, I yelled ‘let’s go!’ and a lot of times when someone yells, you don’t know what they’re yelling. So maybe they heard me wrong. All I said was ‘let’s go!'”
The New Jersey Jackals would go on to win the game 6-3 to complete the series sweep. New Jersey improves their record to 34-31 after sweeping the Rockland Boulders. The Jackals will continue their homestand by playing a three game series against the Ottawa Champions.
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