The Rockland Boulders defeated the Ottawa Champions 7-6 in a bizarre and exciting game. CJ Riefenhouser had an impressive start going five innings allowing just one run. Ottawa’s starter Yean Carlos Gil went six innings and giving up two runs.
The game began as a pitcher’s duel as there would be no score through the first four innings. The Champions threatened in the top of the third after catcher Daniel Grauer drew a walk and stole second followed by single from Daniel Bick who also stole second. With just one out, Brian Bistagne walked to load the bases. However, Riefenhouser would get out of the jam after Sebastien Boucher lined into a double play keeping the game at a standstill.
Rockland struck first with a solo shot off the bat of right fielder Mike Montville in the fourth. However, Ottawa responded with a home run of their own from Daniel Bick in the fifth to tie the score at 1.
The Boulders answered the Champions response in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. Centerfielder Jared McDonald started off the inning with a leadoff double to get the Boulders rolling. After second baseman Dylan Tice was hit by a pitch, shortstop Mike Fransoso laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Marcus Nidiffer would bring home the go-ahead run with a sac fly to make the score 2-1.
Rockland would replace Riefenhouser in the sixth by bringing in Thomas Lawrence but he would give up the lead on a two-run home run to Matt Helms, scoring himself and Pierre who singled earlier in the inning.
Ottawa added to their lead in the seventh. After Bick reached on an error and moved to third on a sac bunt by Adron Chambers and groundout by Bistagne, Boucher singled to tack on an insurance run making the score 4-2.
The game would flip in the bottom of the seventh, as the Champions turned to their bullpen. A leadoff walk from Tice and single by Fransoso put runners on first and second, as designated hitter, Marcus Nidiffer came to the plate. Nidiffer would then take a 2-2 pitch to right with a three-run home run to give the Boulders the lead. The next batter, first baseman Joe Maloney, added some insurance with his sixth home run of the season to build the lead 6-4.
Ethan Elias came into the eighth and preserved the lead with a quick 1-2-3 inning. In the ninth, closer Mayckol Guaipe (2-0) came on but struggled. After singles by Bick and Bistagne and a walk by Boucher to load the bases, Steve Brown would tie the game with a two-run single.
The Boulders would remain resilient in the bottom of the ninth. After a strike out to Maloney, third baseman Cody Regis drew a walk, Montville singled, and catcher Alex Herceg reached on an error to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, McDonald would hit a grounder to first base, and with a missed tag and collision by losing pitcher Victor Beriguete, first base umpire Kris Engstrand called McDonald safe to give Rockland the 7-6 victory.
After winning this series 3-1, the Boulders are now 12-3 on the season, giving them the best record in the CanAm. Next up will be a six game road trip beginning tomorrow night with a weekend series against the Quebec Capitales, before facing Ottawa again, next Monday – Wednesday.