The return of first basemen Joe Maloney has made all the difference for the Rockland Boulders this season. The twenty-nine year old slugger has made sure teams still remember who he is after spending last year playing for the Minnesota Twins organization.
The 2015 season, his last with the Boulders, was also the most memorable of Maloney’s career, when he won both Can-Am League Player of the Year and Baseball America’s Independent League Player of the Year. Maloney set a Can-Am League record with 91 runs in addition to a .337 batting average with 33 doubles, 14 home runs and 83 runs batted in in only 97 games.
After his return this season, he immediately was reinserted in the cleanup spot and picked up where he left off. The Boulders currently sit at the top of the Can-Am standings with a 16-6 record with much thanks to Maloney, who looks to be on his way to another Player of the Year run.
Maloney is currently hitting .277 and is in the top three in three different statistical categories; doubles, home runs, and runs batted in.
With rumors of professional scouts being in the ballpark Maloney once again delivered a huge game this past Thursday where he went 5-6 including two doubles, two home runs and three RBI’s.
This monster game comes off a double header in Ottawa last night which resulted in a long day, including a six hour bus ride from the neighboring country up north. “Everyone’s tired after the bus ride late last night but we still came out and we were right there in it,” said Maloney following a tough extra inning loss.
After his best performance of the season, Maloney still gave credit to his team over his personal statistics despite a tough loss in extra innings to their rival New Jersey Jackals.
Maloney continued: “We got a great group of guys here. Everyone’s doing it both offensively and on the mound. We’ve got plenty of heart and this happens.”
When asked on his hot start in his return to the Boulders, Maloney said, “I think the biggest thing is getting out on the field and trusting in what I’ve done in the past. Just going out there and playing free.”
In regards to his approach, Maloney stated, “I’m going to continue to stay aggressive to the pitch he wants to hit and not do too much. I’m gonna keep one pitch in mind that I want to get after, and if I get it, I’m going to put my best swing on it and if not, I’ll take it.”
When asked if he expects another run at a championship, Maloney responded, “Absolutely. You can see it. One through nine and even on to our bench, we got it. We’re relentless.”
The Boulders look to continue their hot start to the season and ultimately end with another championship for Maloney and company to celebrate.