In perhaps the most exciting game of the young Boulder season, Rockland defeated the Ottawa Champions 5-4 courtesy of a walk-off home run from Jared McDonald.. Markus Solbach (5-0) was the Boulder starter and pitched seven innings of four-run baseball. Matt Kostalos (1-1) secured the win. Phillippe Aumont (1-1) went six innings and gave up just one run for the Champions. Victor Beriguete (0-4) took the loss.
Both teams were able to get on the board early. Ottawa leadoff hitter Tyson Gillies started the top of the first off with a single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on an error by second baseman Dylan Tice. Gillies came home on an RBI single by Ricky Oropeza.
Rockland responded in the bottom with two consecutive hits. McDonald doubled to lead off and Tice’s single moved him to third. Cody Regis tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI groundout.
The starting pitchers settled down as the score remained tied for the next four innings thanks in part to an outfield assist by Mike Montville in the fourth inning. Tyler Nordgren hit a ball down the right field line that bounced off the short porch wall into Montville’s glove. Nordgren tried for a double but a strong throw from the right fielder nailed him for the first out.
Ottawa broke the tie in the sixth inning starting with Daniel Grauer reaching on an error by Regis. Grauer scored on a double from Nordgren to give the Champions a 2-1 lead.
The lead grew in the seventh as Gillies singled and scored on a Steve Nyisztor double. Ottawa tacked on another run with a triple by the dangerous Steve Brown upping the score to 4-1.. Relief pitcher Matt Kostalos came on in the eighth inning for Solbach.
Rockland made their rally in the eighth inning with reliever Raydel Sanchez on the mound. Joe Maloney started the comeback with a solo home run to tie the game and tie the league lead with 12 homers. Marcus Nidiffer doubled and Montville walked to get the tying runners on base. Jon Smith then stepped up to the plate and crushed a double to right-center field tying the game at 4-4.
The Champions almost took the lead in the ninth but Kostalos and the Boulder defense held strong. Gillies led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nyisztor. He reached third on a wild pitch with one out. Sebastien Boucher hit an infield single but Maloney was able to keep the runner at third. The hot hitting Steve Brown then hit into an around-the-horn double play to get out of the jam.
After holding the tie, Rockland’s J-Mac came to the plate to leadoff and crushed his first homer of the season to right field for a walk-off win giving manager Jamie Keefe his 700th career win in dramatic fashion.
The Boulders are now 26-8 on the season while the Champions fell to 12-21. The middle game of the series will be tomorrow at 7 p.m. CJ Riefenhouser is Rockland’s probable starting pitcher while Ottawa is likely to send Austin Chrismon to the mound.