CRANE SINGLE LIFTS MINERS TO 13TH CONSECUTIVE HOME WIN
July 2, Augusta, NJ – The Sussex County Miners (28-15) proved the saying in baseball – “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over” – on Monday night as they used back-to-back two-run innings in the seventh and the eighth to secure a thrilling 5-3, come-from-behind win against their in-state rivals the New Jersey Jackals in front of 1,482 fans on Monday night at Skylands Stadium.
Coming off a disappointing sweep at the hands of the Quebec Capitales, the Miners sent David Rollins, their southpaw ace, to the mound in attempts to end the losing streak. Just pitches into the game, however, the Miners were already in a hole.
A base hit to start off the game from John Ruettiger, followed by an error and a Dean Green single, gave the Jackals an early 1-0 advantage. David Harris then bounced into a double play, but Seth Spivey made sure they got the most of the scoring opportunity by spraying another hit, putting New Jersey up by two before the Miners even took their first swings.
Audy Ciriaco hit a blast in his first at-bat of the game to cut the deficit in half, but that’s all Sussex County would get. In fact, it’s all they would get for a while – Mariel Checo put up zero after zero until he exited the game after the fifth.
It was more of the same in the sixth for the Miners offense, as another shut out inning from Jose Velez had them looking for a run wherever they could find one.
Enter: Jayce Ray and Connor Crane.
With two runners in in the seventh, Ray ripped a single up the middle that tied the game at three, getting Sussex County out of the hole they were in since just pitches into the game.
One inning later, it was Crane – the midseason acquisition from the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League – who earned his stripes, as his bases loaded single drove in two more, giving the Miners a 5-3 lead – a lead that they wouldn’t give up.
Alex Demchak made things interesting in the ninth by putting two runners on, but got Carlos Triunfel to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
With the win, the Miners take their thirteenth straight at home – a streak that tied the league record set by Quebec in 2011. They will look to take sole possession of the record Tuesday night when they take on the Jackals in the second of a three-game set.
Article: Will Fowler with Bret Leuthner contributing
Photo: Sara Schaarschmidt/Sussex County Miners