POMONA, NY — Over a span of six hours, the New York Boulders swapped spots in the Frontier League playoff standings four times on Friday.
The Boulders benefited from a shocking league announcement before splitting their doubleheader against the first-place New Jersey Jackals to cap a truly freaky Friday at Clover Stadium.
Prior to the games, the Boulders were informed that the Quebec Capitales would have to forfeit their win against the Boulders on Thursday for using a player improperly. The decision resulted in New York going from the outside looking in on the Frontier League playoff race to owners of the final playoff spot heading into Friday’s twin bill.
The Boulders dropped the first game of the night, which was a continuation of a suspended game from July 17. New York was already starting behind the 8-ball, with New Jersey holding a 1-0 lead with two runners on an no outs in the third inning of a seven-inning game.
The Jackals plated another run on the first batter once play resumed to take a two-run lead. The Boulders tied the game on a scorching two-run double off the wall by Tom Walraven in the top of the sixth inning, but New Jersey would answer in the bottom half of the frame. Rusber Estrada, who hit a solo home run prior to the game being suspended on July 17, launched what was technically his second homer of the game to give the Jackals a 3-2 win.
The loss dropped New York back out of the playoff spot, falling a half-game behind the Tri-City ValleyCats.
New York managed to take the second game of the night, 4-1, thanks in large part to the brilliant pitching performance of Aaron Dona. The St. Thomas Aquinas College alum fired five innings of shutout ball, striking out seven while allowing just two hits to earn the win. Dylan Smith closed out the game with a two-inning save.
Chris Kwitzer produced the first two runs for New York, supplying RBI singles in the fourth and sixth innings. Gabriel Garcia tacked on insurance runs with a two-run double in the sixth inning.
The Quebec forfeiture and doubleheader split now puts New York at 54-40 and in possession of third place — which owns the final playoff spot — with two games left in the regular season.
The Boulders will continue their playoff chase Saturday night against New Jersey at 6:30 p.m. For information on Boulders tickets, value packs and more, visit the Boulders’ official website at www.nyboulders.com.