OTTAWA, CAN- The Boulders got off to a slow start, and a late comeback couldn’t bridge the gap, as they lost to the Ottawa Champions in Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park, 8-2.
Rockland (47-39) started out well behind rookie starter Mike Adams (5-6), who tossed two quick shutout innings, rolling through Ottawa’s lineup without any issues. However, he ran into a bit of trouble in the third inning, getting hit around, and giving up six runs. He would settle down a bit more after that outburst, but did allow
Matt Kostalos came in and stabilized the situation for Rockland when he relieved Adams of his duties in the seventh inning. He had no problem shutting down the Champions, pitching two shutout innings, while only allowing three base runners to reach. Jason Byers took up the torch in the ninth, and threw another shutout inning which included a strikeout. The performance continues another strong outing by the Boulders’ bullpen.
Ottawa (47-40), led by starter Austin Chrismon (8-3) were able to quiet the Boulders’ hot bats. Chrismon rolled through 6.2 innings, without giving up a single run, striking out seven and walking only one. He was threatened in the seventh, with singles by Pat McKenna and Quinnton Mack setting up a scoring situation with two outs. However, relief pitcher Randy Hamrick came in and finished the inning, ending the chance.
The Boulders weren’t done attacking though, as they pounced on Hamrick during their second crack at him in the eighth. Jared Schlehuber drew a walk, and was moved over to third base on a single by Marcus Nidiffer. Devin Harris then drove him in easily with a sacrifice fly, making the score 8-2.
In the ninth, Rockland struck again against the Champions’ Josh Blanco. After recording two outs, Mack and Mike Fransoso would reach on singles, with Mack scoring on an error where Junior Arrojo reached base. Schlehuber drew another walk to load up the bases, bringing up Nidiffer. However, the captain couldn’t finish the job, popping out to first base, ending the game and the two out rally.
The loss snapped Rockland’s five game winning streak, but Jared Schlehuber continued to hit well. The Boulders’ slugging first basemen finished the game 1-3, while also being walked twice, and scoring a run. The fear of pitching to Schlehuber is well earned, as he has hit four home runs in the past ten games, while also driving in 12 runs. His recent performance prompted manager Jamie Keefe to move him into the third spot in the lineup, a promotion from his standard fifth place.
The Boulders will continue to make that push when they play in their second game of a three game set against the Champions on Tuesday night at 7 PM in Ottawa.