Santiago Chirino’s 10th inning sacrifice fly proved to be the difference as the New Jersey Jackals edged out the New York Boulders 3-2 in front of an energized crowd at Palisades Credit Union Park on Saturday night.
Alfredo Marte opened the scoring in the top of the second inning on a solo home run to left. The ball was out of the reach of Jack Sundberg, whose leap came up just short. It was the fifth home run of the season for Marte, tying him with Trey Hair of Sussex County for the Frontier League lead.
The Boulders quickly answered in the bottom half of the inning. Zach Penprase walked and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Brandon Bingel then evened the score with a two-out RBI single that fell right in front of a diving Demetrius Moorer in center.
In the top of the third, Moorer set the table for the Jackals with a one-out walk and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Chris Carpio. That set the stage for Chirino’s go-ahead sacrifice fly, hit too deep in center for Milton Smith to attempt a throw.
Kevonte Mitchell had a golden opportunity to tie the game up in the bottom of the third. Zach Kirtley walked, made it to second on a wild pitch, and continued to third base following a balk by starting pitcher Spencer Hereford. With only one out, Mitchell went down swinging, and then after a Jack Sundberg walk, Tucker Nathans flew out to left field to end the threat.
There wasn’t too much action until the top of the eighth inning. With one out and a full count, Russ Olive took a borderline pitch outside to draw the walk. Manager T.J. Stanton was incensed by the call and earned his first Boulders’ ejection from home plate umpire Frank Iuriulli for arguing balls and strikes.
Stanton’s exit seemed to fire up the Boulders as they responded in their half of the eighth inning. Smith reached on a walk, moved to second when Mitchell was hit by a pitch, and came around to score on a game-tying two-out single by Sundberg.
The Boulders had the first two runners reach in the bottom of the ninth thanks to back-to-back single by Penprase and Ray Hernandez. However, Dylan Brammer buckled down and retired the next three batters to send the game to extras.
In the 10th inning, both teams started with a runner on second. A bunt single by Moorer moved the runner to third and a Carpio bunt pushed both into scoring position. Chirino stepped up to the plate and ripped a ball into left-center. Smith laid out to make a great catch and allow only one run to score. Penprase closed out the inning on an excellent play in the hole.
In their last licks, the Boulders first two batters struck out swinging. That left the game in the hands of Sundberg, who showed off his clutch gene by blooping a single into left. Marte, who was playing very shallow, came up throwing and gunned down Smith at home plate in plenty of time to seal the win for the Jackals.
Hereford spun a gem for New Jersey. He lasted six innings, struck out seven Boulders, and only gave up one run on four hits and four walks to earn the win.
Danny Wirchansky was on the bump for the Boulders and tossed an impressive quality start. In his seven innings of work, he allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five in the bounce back effort.
James Mulry was charged for the loss after allowing the Jackals runner to score from second in the 10th. Brammer picked up the win and Matt Vogel the save as they combined for two and 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.