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Miners Walk Off Against the Jackals




July 12, Augusta, NJ – The Sussex County Miners (34-18) used some solid pitching and late game heroics to defeat the New Jersey Jackals (26-25) in another edition of the Battle of New Jersey by a final score of 4-3. With the win, the Miners remain in first place as the Jackals drop to seven and a half games off of the pace.

Jackals left fielder Conor Hofmann got things going in his first game since coming off the disabled list. He led off the game with a walk before stealing both second and third base. The first baseman Andy Mocahbee dropped in a single in the next at-bat to score Hofmann and give the Jackals a 1-0 lead.

Sussex County battled back in the bottom of the second inning. Mikey Reynolds started things off with a double before stealing third base. With the runner at third, catcher Luis Alen kept his hot streak going by driving his teammate in and evening the score up at one apiece.

Hofmann was at it again for the Jackals in the top of the third as he continued to run wild. He hit a two-out triple and then scored on a wild pitch to help the Jackals retake the lead, 2-1.

The Miners hit right back in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, the Can-Am League’s batting average leader Martin Figueroa hit a long line drive into right-centerfield for his fifth triple of the season. After a tough at-bat, Reynolds would bring him home with an RBI single and tie the game up 2-2.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Jayce Ray worked a one out walk and then advanced on a wild pitch. Jarred Mederos would follow it up with a walk of his own before Ray was caught stealing on the double-steal attempt. After all that, Figueroa came to the plate with a runner on second and delivered with an RBI double to give the Miners a 3-2 lead.

The Jackals would continue to stick around as they kept the bats going in the top of the sixth. David Harris worked a one-out walk, and Danny Canela singled to set up runners on first and third for Seth Spivey. Spivey would single in Harris to tie the game yet again, this time 3-3.

After some clean pitching from both sides in the seventh and eighth innings, the tension rose greatly in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Jackals brought in former Major Leaguer Mat Latos. His pedigree did not shake the Miners, as they did what they do best: find a way to score. Breland Almadova hit a rocket in to left field for a double to set the tone. After Ray was intentionally walked, Mederos pushed the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Latos intentionally walked Figueroa to load the bases with one out. With the spotlight on him, Reynolds shined with a base hit through the right side to win the game for his team in walk-off fashion.

Kenny Koplove pitched five and one-thirds innings, allowing three runs on three hits and striking out five in his first appearance as a starter this season. Mark McCoy (1-2) picked up his first victory of the season allowing just three hits and striking out two in three and two-thirds innings of relief. Mat Latos (3-3) took the loss after surrendering the winning run on two hits and a pair off walks and retiring just one batter.

Sussex County will continue their series against their in-state rival Jackals Friday night at Skylands Stadium at 7:05 PM.

Story: Zachary Smolen
Photo: Sara Schaarschmidt/Sussex County Miners