On a recent road trip, the New York Boulders (6-8) dropped four out of five games. However, there was light at the end of the tunnel as the team managed to snap a three-game losing streak in a 7-1 win over Tri-City at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York, on Wednesday night.
New York starting pitcher Brian Rapp tossed a gem in seven innings on the mound, yielding one run on four hits, one walk, and striking out seven. Ryan Ramiz drove in three runs while Jack Sundberg added two.
“The number one goal as a starting pitcher is to give your team a chance to win every time out and that’s the goal,” Brian Rapp said. “I had a good four-pitch mix going, the defense played great behind me and you can never count out the guys in the infield doing their job for us.” “It’s awesome when the guys put up at-bats, our lineup is very good, and it’s always great to have run support.”
“We have a great pitching staff, everyone’s trying to get back into the mix of everything and it’s our job as starters to go as far as we can and then turn it over to the bullpen.”
Ryan Ramiz on his first home run of the season and 3 RBI performance, “It was my second at bat, just a change-up and he left up a little bit and I just turned on it.” “I think we have a lineup where once we get a couple they just start coming in bunches and everyone can contribute.”
However, the road trip ended on a disappointing note on Thursday night as the Boulders dropped a 2-1 decision on a walk-off sac fly in the ninth inning. Facing a long bus trip back to Pomona overnight and not arriving home until the wee hours. A quick turnaround on Friday afternoon with a doubleheader against the New Jersey Jackals (8-6) at Palisades Credit Union Park on a partly cloudy 71-degree day. More importantly, New York opening up a 10-game homestand, with seven of those games coming against the Jackals.
“It’s very big because we’re looking up and it’s only 12 games into the season and we’ve only played four times,” Manager T.J. Stanton mentioned. “It’s nice to get into our park, our own routine and the warmer it gets the smaller the field gets.”
Getting the start for New York in Game 1, right-handed pitcher Ben Strahm ran into early trouble as New Jersey lit up the scoreboard scoring six times off Strahm in the first three innings of play. Strahm departing after two and two-thirds of an inning, allowing six runs with four of them earned on seven hits, three walks, and two strikeouts.
Boulders shortstop Zach Penprase proved to be the lone bright spot belting his first home run of the season in the fifth inning. New Jersey’s offense continued to tee off, tallying six additional runs while bashing three home runs that ended up in a lopsided 12-1 victory.
Manager T.J. Stanton handed the ball off to Orsen Josephina in the nightcap of the twin bill. Initially surrendering an early run in the Top 1st, Josephina settled down afterward, hurling three shutout innings on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
“Orsen’s first start since college, we started him out in the pen a little and extending and extending and his arm is not all the way strong yet so that was very positive,” T.J. Stanton explained. “He’s just able to navigate some singles and limit damage at all times which is very promising.”
Meanwhile, the New York offense erupted in the bottom half of the first inning, scoring four times off Jackals starter Chase Ingram. In the fifth inning, the Boulders widened the gap even further on one swing of the bat. Already contributing in the first inning with an RBI double that tied the game up at 1-1, right-fielder Kevonte Mitchell crushed a massive grand slam home run into the left-center field bleachers.
“That felt really good, just got in there and having a plan and approach,” Kevonte Mitchell described. “Looking for a fastball, happened to come in and squared up and sounded good.” I’m just trying to be as smooth as possible, and when I try to do too much, to stay within myself and just let the rest take of itself.
“We were out there, everybody’s locked in and knew what they needed to go to come up with the big dub.” “This offense is capable of doing big things, we’re just getting pitches that we can hit and if it’s in our zone we’re to do damage.”
The bullpen trio of Zach Schneider, Nate Alexander, and Tanner Kiest slammed the door shut in the final three innings, yielding just two hits, walking none, and fanning four hitters to preserve an 8-1 victory. Nate Alexander earned his first win of the season in relief.
“We’re still meddling a little bit; we’re still leaving too many guys on base but finding a way to score in bunches and never going to complain about that,” T.J. Stanton noted. “After the first ten days of the season, we’re leading the league in hits, but that’s not what we are and slowly getting maybe fewer hits, and more extra-base hits, and built to do and very positive sign.” “We hit the ball hard and a lot of good defensive plays on New Jersey’s part.”
“Kevonte (Mitchell) is doing everything right, he’s getting on base a ton, driving in runs, scoring and running the base paths very well and we’re going to enjoy it while we have it. It’s a three-run game, (Alfredo) Marte up and (Nate) Alexander comes in, and that was fantastic. (Zach) Schneider did a great job as well, we haven’t used him, and one game, he threw a bunch of innings, and we had to let him rest up from that. Once he gets into a rhythm of pitching every day or every other day, he’s going to get sharper. We’re starting to get some more confidence with our bullpen, especially Schneider, Alexander, and (Tanner) Kiest.”