OTTAWA – The Rockland Boulders took the first game of their doubleheader against the Ottawa Champions at RCGT Park with a 5-3 victory. CJ Riefenhouser, who took a no-decision against the Champions at home on June 1, took the ball for the Boulders. He would be opposed by Pat Peterson.
The Boulders struck first in the top of the second inning. After Peterson retired captain Marcus Nidiffer and Joe Maloney for the first two outs, he surrendered a walk to Cody Regis. Mike Montville then came up and hit a two-run home run, giving the Boulders a 2-0 lead. It was Montville’s third home run of the season. Coincidentally, Montville hit his last home run of the season against the Champions in the same game Riefenhouserpitched last week on June 1.
After retiring the first five batters he faced, Riefenhouser ran into trouble. He gave up a two-out double to Ottawa third baseman Gustavo Pierre. Pierre would proceed to advance to third on an error committed by Riefenhouser. Riefenhouser then walked left-fielder Matt Helms, bringing up shortstop Daniel Bick. Bick hit an RBI double that scored Pierre from third and cut the Boulder lead in half.
Riefenhouser’s struggles were not over in the bottom of the third inning. With the Boulders still leading 2-1, Champions second baseman Steve Nyisztor walked with one out. After Riefenhouser retired designated hitter Sebastien Boucher for the second out of the inning, right fielder Steve Brown hit a two-run home run that gave the Champions a 3-2 lead. It was Brown’s second homer of the season.
But that was all of the damage that the Champions would do against Riefenhouser. He settled down after the home run and didn’t allow another man past him. He retired the last seven batters he faced. Riefenhouser went five innings, gave up three hits, three earned runs, two walks and struck out four.
Peterson on the other hand, pitched effectively as well for Ottawa. He struck out seven Boulders through the first four innings while giving up just three hits.
The Boulders finally got to him in their half of the sixth inning. Jared McDonald, who had struck out twice against Peterson, started it off with a double. He advanced to third on a fly-out to right field by Dylan Tice and scored on an RBI single by shortstop Mike Fransoso. That tied the game at 3 apiece.
Ottawa brought in reliever Andrew Cooper to face Nidiffer. Nidiffer singled and Fransoso, who had stolen second during the at-bat, took third base. Maloney followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed the Boulders to retake the lead, 4-3. The run counted towards Peterson, who went 5 1/3 innings, gave up five hits and four runs, struck out seven and walked two.
The Boulders added some insurance in their half of the seventh inning when McDonald knocked Joe Bennie in on a fielder’s choice, making the score 5-3 Boulders.
Ethan Elias relieved Riefenhouser and pitched two scoreless innings, giving the Boulders the victory.