SWEEP ROCKLAND FOR FIRST TIME IN CLUB HISTORY
June 28, Augusta, NJ – The back-and-forth weather prior to the game was in no way indicative of Thursday night’s result as the Sussex County Miners (27-12) were in control the whole way dousing the Rockland Boulders (21-18) by a score of 4-1 Thursday night at Skylands Stadium. The Miners swept the Boulders for the first time in team history and with the win maintained a three and a half game lead over the Quebec Capitales for fist place in the Can-Am League.
After nearly getting no-hit last game, the Boulders immediately avoided a repeat fate as the leadoff hitter JC Rodriguez lined the first pitch of the ball game into right field for a double. Miners starter Cory Jones pitched out of the early jam to keep the scoreboard clean.
The Miners bats figured things out in the bottom of the second inning after being retired in order in the first. A leadoff walk drawn by Martin Figueroa and a hard hit double by Rubi Silva set up a base hit by Nick Zaharion that scored both base runners and gave Sussex County a 2-0 lead.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning tempers hit a boiling point in the Rockland dugout. Boulders manager Jaime Keefe came out of the dugout to argue a strike called to Rodriguez after he had been frustrated with he perceived to be an inconsistent strike zone from home plate umpire Joe Napoli. Keefe was promptly ejected from the contest.
Over in the bottom of the sixth inning, Mikey Reynolds’ endurance was tested to lead things off. After taking a pitch for a ball, the Miners’ trainer was sent out on back-to-back pitches as Reynolds fouled a ball hard off of his lower half and then was hit hard in the back with a pitch to send him to first. The bumps and bruises paid off in the end as Silva drove him home with his third knock of the contest to pad the lead to 3-0.
Sussex County pushed across an insurance run in the eighth inning to give closer Alex Demchak a 4-0 cushion against the league’s second best offense in the ninth. He would allow an unearned run and wiggle out of a bases loaded jam to wrap up the victory for the Miners.
Jones (5-1) continued his streak of good starts, pitching six innings of scoreless ball while allowing three hits and three walks and striking out a season high seven batters. Brad Schaenzer (0-1) took the loss in his professional baseball debut, going five plus innings and surrendering three runs on five hits, walking two and striking out one.
The Miners will head up to Quebec to take on the Capitales in a three game series as Sussex County’s number one offense will face off against Quebec’s league leading pitching staff in a battle of the Can-Am’s two best teams. Friday’s game will begin at 7:05pm
Article: Zachary Smolen