05 Jul FIRST TO 30 WINS, SWEEP SUSSEX
Sporting #14 Newark Eagles’ jerseys in honor of Paterson native and former Negro League and Major League player Larry Doby, the Jackals came out swinging, securing their fourth sweep of the season over the Sussex County Miners with an 8-5 win on Wednesday night.
Entering Monday’s contest the Jackals and Miners were competing for the first place spot in the Frontier League, but following three easy wins, New Jersey has pulled ahead as the clear front runner with a 30-16 record, while Sussex County falls to 27-19.
As the blazing sun beat down on Hinchliffe Stadium, the Jackals came out hot in the bottom of the second inning. With bases loaded and one out, Phillip Ervin punched a sac fly to the outfield, allowing Alex Toral to score the first run of the night. All-Star James Nelson then kept the momentum going, cracking one into left field that Will Zimmerman could not get a hold of, bringing both Jordan Howard and Nilo Rijo home.
In six innings of work, Jackals pitcher Bryan Pena did not allow more than four batters up to the plate and did not let up a single run. Despite a scary line drive to his throwing hand in the top of the fifth, the lefty immediately bounced back with a strikeout against Anthony Gomez.
While Pena put on a clinic on the mound, Miners starting pitcher Mark Moclair was feeling the pressure, letting up eight runs in four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Moclair ran into his worst trouble of the night. A base hit from Jordan Howard followed by a walk and two hit batters, loaded the bases for Nelson to send Howard home. Then, Keon Barnum reached first on a fielder’s choice to bring Rijo home, improving the score to 5-0. The Jackals would then end the inning with a healthy 8-0 lead, following a Josh Rehwaldt RBI single and 2 RBI home run from the former major leaguer Alfredo Marte.
Sussex County was unproductive for the majority of the game, but began brewing something up in the top of the eighth with Robert Klinchock on the mound for New Jersey. Things became dicey for the Jackals as the Miners closed the gap to 8-5, utilizing two walks, a 2 RBI double, an RBI triple and another run scoring base hit to turn the Jackals vice grip on the game into more of a loose pinch.
Although the Jackals could not tally any insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, All-Star right handed pitcher Lance Lusk was sent to the mound to finish the game and after quick a one, two, three inning secured the game and series sweep. New Jersey became the first team in the Frontier League to 30 wins this season, by virtue of their game concluding before the Gateway Grizzlies on Wednesday.
The Jackals will travel to Trois-Rivieres this weekend for a three-game series against the Aigles, ahead of a five day break for the All-Star game. Rusber Estrada, Keon Barnum, James Nelson, Josh Rehwaldt, Matt Vogel and Lance Lusk will be representing Silk City in Chicago next week. The Jackals will return home after the break to face the Schaumburg Boomers on July 14 at 6:35pm.
REPORTING BY: Mikayla Kelly
PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Hoops