OPEN UP DOUBLE DIGIT LEAD IN STANDINGS
July 29, Augusta, NJ – The Sussex County Miners (47-20) kept things rolling at home and defeated the second place Québec Capitales (37-31) by a score of 5-3. With the win, the Miners extended their first place lead to 10.5 games over Québec. They also swept their eighth series of the season and won their twentieth game in July, breaking their franchise record for wins in a month of nineteen that they set last month.
As they have done in this series, the Miners jumped on the Capitales early. In the bottom of the first inning Breland Almadova led of the game by taking advantage of a dropped fly ball and advancing to second base. One batter later, Danny Mateo (pictured) sent him home with a single to put the Miners on the board. From there, Mateo stole second and Audy Ciriaco walked to set up Jayce Ray who ripped a single to score Mateo and give Sussex County a 2-0 lead.
The Capitales answered quickly in the top of the second inning. Maxx Tissenbaum led off the frame with a solo home run that just squeezed inside the right field foul pole to cut the Miners’ lead in half to 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Miners bats got going yet again. Connor Crane started things off with a leadoff triple and was followed by Nick Zaharion who was hit square in the back to give his team runners on first ad third. With one out, Martin Figueroa squibbed a ball to Québec second baseman Nick Gotta to put out Zaharion and send Crane home. Mateo then came to the plate and hit a long home run to right field for his third home run of the year to extend the Miners’ lead to 5-2.
Things got interesting in the top of the eighth inning. With runners on first and second, Brad Antchak hit a RBI single to make it a 5-3 ball game. Kevin Grendell came on in relief of El’Hajj Muhammad and promptly retired the next two batters to escape the jam with just limited damage. After seven and a half, the Miners led 5-3, which would prove to be the final score.
Cory Jones (7-2) earned the victory after allowing two runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out four. It was Jones’ eight consecutive start of 6 or more innings and ninth such start of the year. Wendell Floranus (0-1) looked sharp, but took the loss in his Can-Am League debut. Over seven innings of work, Floranus let up five runs (three earned) on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Alex Demchak pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two to collect his eighth save of the year.
With the win, the Miners have now won seventeen of their last twenty games, going from one-half game behind Québec for first place to their current ten and one-half game lead in the Can-Am League standings.
The Miners will take two days off before welcoming the Trois-Rivières Aigles to town for a three-game series. It will be the first time these two teams have played since May. Wednesday’s game will begin at 7:05 PM.
Article: Zachary Smolen
Photo: Dennis Mark